The Warrior (Woman Song)

When the grist of defeat
Stains our dust-covered
uniforms

And we sit
In our costly reprieve

Some of the men sing
of sheaves of wheat

some
of fresh fruit

Some men sing
of passion
and breathe loose truths
about the girl
they left at home–

but not I.
I am my own woman.

We covet the landscapes
and give them ‘her’ names;

Maria, Elena,
Elana, Elaine

and I weave of them
a lonely tapestry;

Their weapons are slung down,
Remembering love,

But
I am the lover
I long for.

There was a time, once
When I would sow such
passions, falsely

There was a time
When I would wait
For a lover who
could never come

But now I taste the kisses
Of my own remembrance,
I can conjure closeness in any form–
A woman is no longer necessary
To become what I must become.

Still, I understand
Consummate loneliness.
So I sing for them:

“My woman is fair and her hair is long;
I play and she dances all night long;
My woman is fair and her hair is long;
Though there are many, she is mine.

Though I’ve known joys,
There are none like her knowing
Though I’ve known beauties,
Her face outshines…

Her eyes
are the changing green-blue
Of the ocean,

Her arms
Hold lamps for me–
A ship in the storm.”

And so softens the hearts
Of a lonely battalion

The last men
Of a failed campaign

I sing to them,
And despite their wounds
They warm to me

The singer
and commander
of men

Let me always carry this tune;
the ardor of duty–
Let me bed my heart
Despite the scars

I am my own woman,
Bereaved of no one;
And it is why my music
travels farthest