the dead cannot speak

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No More
by James Coburn

Thousands of years of blood
in the names of sacred verse.
Forgotten are their footsteps,
a legacy of dust.
Terrorist cries turn to brittle bone
silent to reason.
So what now of your death
carnage in Berlin and Aleppo
as the dead cannot speak
but silence strikes at complicity?
Innocence spattered on pavement,
leaving hatred stamped on an image.
Gone are they, perished from frenzy
as pointless as bones made limp
in God’s name, spoken as a lie.
I want out of this jungle spired
with thorns.
Winter solstice beckons.
Let me flow with gentle rain,
removing red stain from land.

Gathering of Light
by James Coburn

Don’t hold me back upon the land;
wait for words to understand.
Keep not my ship from floating far.
It carries dreams upon its bow sacred messages never heard until now of life transcending sojourning beyond the stars.
It knows no boundaries of native tongues; is not kept in pages where moths will swarm.
I go there when day is done.
New horizons light the dawn
as seasons pass one by one
and voices reach me far beyond the sea.
I say goodbye to petty schemes
and men espousing brutality.
Away to earth daylight streams,
and light to earth I bring.

Glory of Clay
by James Coburn

Across the crown
Changing the barge
In quiet and raging waters
Glory is found.
To whom it serves
Is at the will of the rower
Whose strong arms were
Not made alone and may
Be taken away
At the ode of suggestion
And dispelled as glitter
On a lonely trek.
Be kind to the land
And swallows above you
Who make no chant
Of a mortal’s rule.

James Coburn is an Oklahoma poet, photographer and journalist. His first book of poetry, "Words of Rain," was a 2015 finalist for the Oklahoma Book Awards. His work has appeared numerous anthologies. A long­time journalist for The Edmond Sun, Coburn is a 2013 inductee of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.