Ode to Orlando

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ODE TO ORLANDO

I woke to the news without knowing.

I stretched my way
into the light of Sunday,
already preparing myself
through a sleep-induced haze,
for the singing.

Mewling cat fed,
coffee made, I sit
logging in to the world
far and near that appears
before me,
amazing me …
not for the first time.

I tend to messages
sent through the vastness,
still unaware
of what lies before me.

Another coffee,
and social media blinks to life.

Tragedy! Death! Shooting!

Before I read on,
I wonder
if things will ever change.
And then,
reading on,
I choke on coffee.

Florida! Orlando! Domestic Terrorism!

The words scream,
gripping my heart and
sending me into a tailspin.
I silently cry out to my angels,
pleading with them
to let me know
that those whom by choice
I call family, are safe.

I seek words and at long last,
reap from my emotions
a small harvest.
I write and I receive.
Looking skyward, I give thanks.

Yet, where I am,
peering at the clock,
I realise this
slaughter of innocents
has not long happened.

I am numb,
blindly going about the routine
that will take me to the music
I need,
more today than most.

My emotions raw,
I fight back tears
as ‘Hymn to the Fallen’ is sung.
So many fallen
in my lifetime, alone.
Yet most poignant was
‘Abide With Me’.

Slain,
their bodies lay as they fell.
And we,
we sang their spirits home.

Now friends and families grieve.
The wounded heal
but the scars that will be the worst,
are those unseen.

Flags fly at half-mast
in memory and in support.
We solemnly light our candles.
We stand silent in the flame’s glow.

Others have stepped up to carry the colours.
They will live on
in the hearts and minds of those
whom they knew as ‘family’ and friends.
They have joined the long list
of fallen warriors,
And we,
must always be strong.

~ Chris Parsons
14 June 2016

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