I Didn’t Get it Henry and Wish I Didn’t Get It Now

The plunge of civilization into this abyss of blood and darkness… is a thing that so gives away the whole long age during which we have supposed the world to be, with whatever abatement, gradually bettering, that to have to take it all now for what the treacherous years were all the while really making for and meaning is too tragic for any words.

– Henry James – 1914 – on the day England entered WWI

The world always gets turned upside down

I see that and know it

It’s the way everything works

Always has worked

It’s a cycle

I studied history

The facts are clear

Cause and effect

Random occurrences

A trampoline of ups and downs


Intellectually Henry I knew it

I thought you wrote real pretty

But then I moved on

A footnote, an addendum, something that happened

To someone else

but I didn’t get it Henry


Wish I didn’t get it now.

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016


The towers fell

The gauntlet dropped

The desert hell

Full of cold steel props

It beings now

What is needed

This is how

Introspection is seeded

The broken souls

The bloody fist

The dark foxholes

The casualty list

What of the desert

Its blood soaked grains

What of the fires

Of our shames and pains

What do we recall

Of that day?

What did we desire

Or hide away?

Grief not faced

Is a wound left open

For what’s been razed

And for words unspoken

My heart is bled

Of its hatred

In my head

Glimpsing the sacred

The truth clear

The war never won

The ending near

The heat of the sun

In the towers

As they died

And looked out

Into the sky

They thought not of


Or noble deeds


Or government acts

They were scared

Yet not alone

They thought of you

Your face, your tears

Your love, your loss

Reach out now

It is not too late

To touch their hand

Before they go

The pulsing heart

The slowing beat

We must part

The end is complete

Gene G. McLaughlin 2006