Day 41 - This Line of Walkers
Poem by Angus Watkins
Who will recall this line of walkers
that wound like a mardi gras serpent
up route fifteen one Spring
bearing banners that snapped
truths in the breeze, strolling to cadence
of drumbeats and buddhists' chanted prayers?
A small parade on a large journey
through five states, we strode, slow
yet steady against the rushing current
of traffic, time, and lesser pursuits.
Like some nervous and curious horses
that hurried and leaned to look
over fences, a ceaseless flood of truckers
and commuters tapped their brakes briefly,
leaning over their dashboards, stunned
at the nerve of this tiny processional.
As all the honkers and beepers or bleepers
made their offerings of digital signs-
thumbs up, thumbs down, middle fingers up-
shouting "Peace, baby!" or "Get a job, this is America!"
not to mention those who gripped steering wheels
with their gaze fixed rigidly straight ahead
as if to erase the peace we would spread,
I bent over a chickadee smashed by a car,
picked up the handful of feathers, stepping
out of line to pray for the life that was
and place it in tall grass beside the long road.
Where are you hurrying, for what
or whom and how many, with your life?
from Oak Ridge, Tennessee to the UN in New York City toward renewal of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, March 12 - May 1, 2005