For my brother Robert

 

At the hall of the Grand Army of the Republic

where a bank sits now

each Memorial Day

there was oratorical splendor

veterans, politicians

but the most important was the delivery

of the Gettysburg Address

by a high school senior

one year my brother, Robert

was chosen

I do not remember him having

a loud voice around the house

but he was president of his class

small, slight

commanding some spirit

more than the Baptist Church

prepared him for

that May day was warm and sunny

a fair sized crowd

gathered around the porch of the G.A.R.

I don’t remember any loudspeaker

traffic was light on the holiday

so when my brother

recited Lincoln’s Holy Words

all could hear

there were tears

from local citizens

knowing how many from Rockland

shed blood in that national catastrophe

I am a sometime war poet

who cannot bring myself to read much

about those bloody fields

on the borderlands

it certainly was no “Civil” war

many still celebrate it

North and South

why did God demand so much

to bring freedom to the oppressed

African-American citizens

it is beyond comprehension

fields were littered with

bodies of men and horses

Traveler indeed!

what were the bands of superiority

that challenged humans and humaneness

even though Maine

contributed more men

proportionately

it is only now

lovely faces are arriving in Rockland

enriching this tiny city

how fortunate we are finally

to hear the fruition of that paragraph

my brother spoke so many years ago

 

Kendall Merriam Home May 5, 2013 10:37 p.m.

Listening to the “Best of the Gypsy Kings”

 

Kendall Merriam was born and raised in Rockland. He has a history degree from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. and graduate studies in military and maritime history at the University of Maine at Orono and Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Conn. He also received grants to study historical research at Colonial Williamsburg and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Merriam has been widely published, including in Katyn W Literaturze (Katyn in Literature), a Polish anthology of literary works about the World War II Katyn Forest Massacre by 120 international authors, including Czeslaw Milosz. Merriam has written more than 20 books and plays. Most of Merriam’s work has a definite muse — family, friends, and strangers — with life’s larger themes of work, love, loss and death. On April 29, 2010, Merriam was appointed Rockland, Inaugural Poet Laureate, an honor from his hometown Merriam cherishes.

The Courier-Gazette will feature quality poems of local authors in Open Mic. If you would like to submit a poem, please email it to News Editor Dan Dunkle at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com or mail it to 91 Camden Street, Suite 403, Rockland, ME 04841. Please be sure to include your name, address, daytime phone number and a little information about the poet. No profanity or explicit material, please. 500 words or fewer preferred.