Nebraska Center for Writers

ROBINS AT THE WALLS
by VALERIE LEE VIERK

A sharp blast of cold assails her
As the winter weary one steps out
Into the morning air.
Then, with rising heart she hears
The robins testing the walls of Winter!
Only two days until March is due
To roar wildly in,
but still the snow lies deep
On the frozen ground,
Appearing to an unknowing watcher
That December lies strong and endless
All around.
But the one long in her land knows
That the advance scouts' songs foretell
That Spring is marching valiantly northward,
Even now perhaps reaching the ramparts
Of beleaguered Winter
Where she's waiting to storm the gales
While the robins break down the walls!

Reprinted with permission
from Platte Valley Review
Copyright © 1995
by Valerie Lee Vierk


OH, TO HAVE BEEN THERE
by VALERIE LEE VIERK

Oh, to have been there
When the Greatest Armada
Ever assembled
Got underway!

Oh, to have been among them
Nearly five thousand strong
With their colors a whipping in the strong gale
And each movement planned out
Like an armored ballet!

Oh, to have been
That man on the bluff
Of St Alban's Head
Who--awestruck looked down
On the accidental review
Of the Great Fleet passing below!

Oh, to have been
That girl in dark London
Who awoke to the sound
Of legions of planes
Passing southbound above
Like passenger pigeons
Somehow come back
To blot out the moon!

Oh, to have stood at the window
And looked out at the sound
Of silence when they had gone
And then heard in the darkness
One old soldier's voice
Starting to sing acappella,"God Save the King"
Soon accompanied by many
Strong female voices!

Oh, to have been on the beach
When the mighty old Texas came in
So close that she nearly churned in the sand
The better to shell the pockets of death
To help the boys trapped by the wall!

Oh, to have heard the words of the Colonel
Who rallied the men
By shouting over the guns,
"Only two kinds of men will stay on this beach
The dead and those going to die
Now get up, follow me!"

Oh, to have been
One of those in the bunker
Who blithely looked out
On the grey, storm spumed dawn
And been dumbstruck to see the horizon alive
With thousands of ships that sailed through the night!

Oh, to be able to walk on the sands
Of now quiet Omaha
Just once with my Dad
Fifty summers after the day,
And with all the white crosses behind us
Hear him tell me once more
How it all was.

Reprinted with permission
from Platte Valley Review
Copyright © 1994
by Valerie Lee Vierk

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