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The Sentinel
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2018-08-30 09:09:12
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The  Sentinel


"You get these nuts from time to time," the Captain sometimes growls.
"Especially in these domestic things.
Thank God most of them are harmless."

By that time most of us knew him, poor old guy.
He was always compliant, never argued with an officer,
Never resisted physically.
But you couldn't talk sense to him either.
A hopeless case, if ever there was one.

"Nobody's gonna tell me what I can or cannot do with my kids."
That's all anybody ever heard him say about it.  That's all.

We'd see him out there on the pavement, the same place always.
Just standing there, sometimes in the rain, or even snow.
He was fat, but his eyes were taut, keen as a Doberman dog's.

We'd see him and we'd stop and comment, to warn him.
We'd say that he'd be better off if he went home.
He never paid us any mind.
Or we'd have to pick him up on account of a complaint.
He was harmless as hell.
He'd say "Yes, officer" or "No, officer," speaking very soft.
We'd warn him: if you keep this up you'll get yourself in real trouble some day.
He wouldn't answer you back, but there was no talking to him.
Said he'd passed through every stage; it didn't matter anymore.
There was nothing more to lose.
Not one ounce of doubt in his soul.
He would just sit there in the back of the squad car, silent,
Tears standing in his eyes.
Then we would drive around and let him off a few blocks away.

How old he was!  And unkempt, his hair going in every direction,
Just standing there, a vigilante, a grandfatherly desperado.
Harmless, angry, a little gray — he loomed more than he waited.
He was a pain in the ass all right, but we all felt a little sorry for him.


Jaw set: this was the task his love had set.
Nobody but nobody was going to keep him from his kids.

He'd thought so often of how it could ever have come to this
That he was sick of thinking by now.
All that remained was the waiting it out
Because the whole thing would break if he just hung on long enough.
It just had to happen.
Besides, he didn't feel like doing anything else.

So, this was his little cross,
Something God perhaps had set for him
To display in all its glory and its majesty
The contract he made with them the days that they were born,
To never leave, never hide, give everything,
Hold nothing back, dote and protect as long as needed.
And the power of this love would never burn out, never alter.

And nothing had changed.

Those particular windows there
What is happening behind them is of infinite interest.
And those two boys up there must know, must feel
The force of the love of that man their father, down below, looking up.


My dear, dearest sons,
The first and greatest of poets told of the dream of peace,
More dear to men in battle than to others,
Of the end of outrage and counter-outrage,
Of the dream of relaxation in reconciliation,
And of the calm at the end of pain.

I am building wings for you, boys.
I am always dreaming of you and the flight we shall take.
We will fulfill our desires, flying away over all the others' heads.
No fear.
We'll escape all evil and all care and be free as birds can be, so high,
So far above, alone together, above the rest, the wind in our faces,
The wind tearing tears out of our eyes, as we laugh and look forward into the blue,
Models and inspirations for all who look up and admire.
This will be truth one day. …



Check Dr. Lawrence Nannery's Poetry Collection:
"Translations from the Cinema"
You can download them for FREE HERE!


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