See them walking halting to the wall,
Hope pinned on their faces, faces drawn and white.
They come for healing, for surcease from doubt and grief.
Standing in the dark reflection, see them fight,
See them wrestle with emotion see them lose,
See the years-old layers shatter in the hard reflected light,
That pours from all the names written on the wall
See the strongest of them stand and start to sway,
Watch their vision cycle swiftly back across the years,
See the faithful drop down on their knees to pray,
See the strong ones as they crumble and their eyes brim full of tears,
See them asking for forgiveness; see them trying not to falter,
See them choking on their memories and remembering their fears,
In the presence of the names written on the wall.
Hear the popping of the flag in the wind,
The muted driving anthem that all of them fought under,
How it drove them forward unsuspecting,
Programmed from their birthrights not to wonder,
Whether cause was righteous, or if it was a blunder,
That wrote the many thousand names written on the wall.
See their trembling fingers touch the stone,
As they find an ancient agony, a single graven name,
Of a child or friend or lover taken from them out of time,
See their twitching faces as they try to fix the blame,
For the loss that changed their lives and fates,
The answer echoes back again,
Silence from the names in stone written on the wall.
See survivors who are left to carry on alone,
Children come to find a father they have never known,
Parents, seeking children, lost a lifetime's years ago,
Finding solace gazing at the somber reach of stone,
Think of the pasts that might have been,
Thinking of the varied futures that they might have known,
Asking, seeking answers from the names graved in the wall.
And the things they leave behind them tell a story all their own,
Single roses, silver medals, photos dimmed and cracked by age.
Letters washed with teardrops, speaking volumes 'cross the decades,
Scream like jets of sleepless nights, of loneliness, of rage,
Tell of dislocation, empty days, going on alone,
A generation's saga on a single wrinkled page,
But no answer issues from the names upon the wall.
See them leaning on each other as they leave,
See the changes in their faces as they leave the shouting stone.
Tourists come by busloads, taking pictures for their albums,
And the victims of the conflict come in pairs or come alone.
To remember those who stayed behind, who failed to come away,
A million different reasons, pilgrims coming one-by-one,
Hear the voices of them all calling softly from the wall,
"Please remember us,
There is no other answer hidden here." ~ Stev Lenon