Heaven and the World
In the World. . . all girls look like high school sweethearts
voices all the song of angels
their touch the breath of God, back there
Back home in Heaven and the World...
Back in the World, fireworks fan only Fourth of July fun, not fear
doors slammed by the wind ignored
dreams all end in restful sleep
In Heaven and the World.
In Heaven, mothers always arrive there first
not long years after their young sons
they shed no tears on sunny days for seemingly no reason
Dads don't go for long and longer drives alone, oblivious of the season
Girls have grown up to be women never leaving
homemade notes on distant granite walls
collages, plastic covered photos of a youthful man in uniform
posters asking, "Did you know my Dad?"
Boys today are men who never wondered, "How much am I like him?"
And children never grew to celebrate first years of life
synonymous with their fathers' last
In Heaven and the World...
In Heaven, gold stars are simply local scenery galore
not adjectives describing mothers, families, wives
no logo on the door of households changed forever
In Heaven, no memories of things you cannot tell your soul
come hell, high water, enemy all about
nothing there unutterable, unspoken, unresolved
and in the World today
Pray God keep these names we number
Pray God grant them rest in Heaven's grace
Pray God keep alive a dream that slumbers
of life beyond a world at war with all that gives us life.
Pray God keep alive that peace
surpassing human understanding,
healing all our weariness here assembled.
Pray God multiply this grace
Pray God ever sanctify this place
And pray we live and die to see His face
In Heaven and the World.
© 2007 by Roger D. Fuchs, Portland, OR 97230-6151. All Rights reserved. 701120
Heaven and the World. For those serving overseas when I did, especially those in Vietnam, the World, capital “W”, was back home, the idealized version of home so unlike Vietnam that it was practically heaven.
As John Ketwig, author of “And a Hard Rain Fell” wrote, the World was a 396 Chevelle with cheater slicks. The World was the back row at the drive-in movie on a summer night with your girlfriend and her sweet perfume. The world was cold beer, hot coffee and just about everything you and I so easily take for granted on a daily basis. The World was populated with round-eyed, energetic young girls like the ones above who on 5/21 helped to prepare the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Living Memorial for the ceremony tomorrow. The World, that dream, kept many a soldier alive and sane and still does today.
Perhaps instead of discounting this dream that kept the soldiers going we would do well to make their dreams our goal and destination. Perhaps our task is to make the world a little more like heaven so that heaven is more like the world.
Today, I dedicate this poem to Jim and Marilyn Weisenburg of SE Portland. Their son David J. Weisenburg of the 2/162 Oregon National Guard was killed by an IED in Taji, Iraq on September 13, 2004. The Weisenburg Family has carried on with grace and faith through the loss of a beloved son but far, far more. They are a shining example of the ordinary and extraordinary Oregon families that make “the World” worth living and dying for.