Vox Populi

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Leslie Anne Mcilroy: Wake Up Love

— for Karl Mullen

All the love in the world is sleeping, 
a deep, deep sleep so it can’t hear 
the children crying, or their mothers.
The fathers are deaf with detonations;
they can’t hear love’s breath in and out, 
in and out, deep within the dream of itself.
 
Where has love gone? they cry, bitter 
coffee in the kitchen, hoping love will rise 
once rested from the sleepless battles 
that keep boys awake till they are old men; 
keep them ready to kill for god and country,
the right to fight for what they love.
 
Wake up love, please.
 
Love sleeps nude and unashamed,
a glass of water near to quell the fires 
we mistake for love, a blanket to wrap 
the broken who come to her bed alone. 
Those who come together, too, are welcome. 
Love’s bed is big — bigger than war.
 
On love’s bed stand is a book,
a love poem the heartless cannot read —
It was written by a woman and a man, 
and a woman and a woman, and a man 
and a man, and the ending is beautiful.
 
Wake up love, please.
 
It is still dark when love rises to the rattle 
of bombs and money, her body revived 
and lithe in the shrapnel, her stretch
like the sun’s rays weary of shining 
light on the ugly, but roused nonetheless 
to the divinity of bodies, hands, lips.
 
Love bids her lovers farewell, kissing 
forehead after forehead, stepping naked 
into the street, her only weapon, the hearts 
of the children — the mothers and fathers —
beating louder than the guns/money/rage/shame/hate, 
waking her, again and again, like a prayer, 
like a song, like a song, like a prayer:
 
Wake up. Wake up, love. Wake up love, please.
 

Leslie Anne Mcilroy’s books include Slag (Main Street Rag, 2014). She lives and works in Pittsburgh.

Copyright 2021 Leslie Anne Mcilroy

One comment on “Leslie Anne Mcilroy: Wake Up Love

  1. Mary McCarthy
    April 28, 2021

    What the world needs now… stunningly beautiful poem!!

    Liked by 1 person

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