When You Choose War

When You Choose War

. . . you cannot stop
the Lenten rose’s pale white blossoms
from unfurling
nor can you command
the pink-tinged buds of tulip trees
to fold inward.
When you choose war, know that
the grass still greens in spring,
the titmouse seeks its “peter-peter,”
the black and white cat curls herself
in the dust-moted spill of sun.
When war is your choice, prepare yourself
for deep-souled words that fall from pens
in rivers of black, for multi-colored
hues to unveil themselves like dreams
across acres of blank canvas
for fresh music to lift and scatter
like so many blackbirds
across a sky so bright you will
shield your eyes.
When you choose war, no matter
your imagined power, you cannot
shroud the human spirit
you cannot even destroy love
and loyalty
and while you may—indeed—conceive
tears, never can you thwart
whispered prayers
from ascending in legions
toward all that is more eternal
than you.

© Rosemary McMahan