Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Friday, October 04, 2013

Oct 4: Go Gentle . . .

Each morning I bind
my breasts in heavy cloth,
lift up the helm, a mask,
face hidden; next the chest plate,
gauntlets protect each hand.
Fully skirted, I cover my legs
with metal, gather my dagger
and my mace,
finally, the shield.
So encumbered, I yet remember
your touch and go forth,
outside these walls,
a warrior facing yet another winter.
Some can afford to be gentle.
Would that this world did not
require armor.

Adobe wall, Sante Fe (Camp 2010)

I struggled with the concept of 'gentle' all day, for at first, I could not forget the echoes of Dylan Thomas' famous lament on the death of his father: "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

My husband wanted me to write a poem about our granddaughter who is learning how to be gentle with the cat. He is truly a gentle person, gentler than me.

Last weekend we went to a local fairgrounds for a children's sale, paradoxically held right next to a gun show. I was surprised not only by the men who passed us in pairs and camouflage, but by how they held their guns and knives at the ready in an 'open carry' state. I immediately felt defensive, in 'fight' mode, ready for an attack.

Perhaps at heart, I shall always fight.

Read the full text of the Dylan Thomas poem here.

Read what gentler voices have written for OctPoWriMo here.