This is a fan fiction story based on characters from the Lonesome Dove television show,
which belong to Rysher Entertainment and Hallmark. No infringement on copyrights is intended.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The subject of this poem is Clay Mosby, but it could just as easily refer to anyone who has fought in a war to survive and come out of it scarred and guarded. After all, through the years and countless miles, the ghosts of the past are never far behind. Sometimes they torment, and sometimes they comfort, but finally they remind us that the future is built on their memory, and the vision and promise of a lost generation must be fulfilled by the one that follows.

Hot tin coffee cup.
Steam wraps its warmth around
Rough, cold-stiffened hands.

Faces, red and raw,
Try to hide from winter's chill.
Sharp gray winds find them.

Bold Robber Baron,
Watch over your rugged realm
From your balcony.

Behold before you,
Lord of all that you survey,
Your muddy Kingdom.

Earth made of pure gold.
Men would kill each other for
A handful of dirt.

Look past your vision,
As if you thought you had found
Another Eden.

Chance turns on a dime.
Only fools believe in luck.
Fate waits patiently.

Poker chips stack up.
No one beats the King of Hearts.
Keep your gun loaded.

Ruthless ambition.
Take back what belongs to you.
Never mind the cost.

Smooth cigar smoke floats.
Undulating waves brush past
Like a woman's touch.

Golden candlelight.
Whisky-colored amber fire
Flickers in your eyes.

Melancholy Thief,
Stealing hearts with just a smile.
Charm is a weapon.

Watch her carefully.
Pride is the jealous mistress
Who once betrayed you.

Old dreams drift away.
Forget all you left behind.
And all that you loved.

Unforgiven soul.
Sorrow deepens with each kiss.
Grief is your Lover.

Faces in the mirror.
Ghosts in pain-distorted dreams
Stare back, hollow-eyed.

Clouded skies tremble.
Lightning from a distant storm
Turns night into day.

Young boys play their drums
Watching stars burst into flames
In the cold, black air.

Cannons' thunder echoes,
Rumbling with a godless voice,
Pounding the darkness.

Fire cracks the sky,
Splintering and erupting
Into blazing stars.

Storms of burning rain explode,
blasting, crashing through sound,
shattering wood and metal and bone,
tearing away lives,
hurling time into breathless, empty space.

Through the blur of rage and fear
Satanic eyes glow,
waiting in horrid stillness,
and glimmering red insanity.

Abandoned souls
grasp the final fragments of their lives,
trapped, frozen in disbelief,
cursing, praying....

Noise and anger dim in brittle silence
as they fall, clinging, shouting,
drowning in fire,
tumbling, numb and cold,
toward a shuddering abyss.

Smoke in serpentine coils swirls,
drifting weightlessly,
circling its prey,
smiling, beckoning,
gathering them into its suffocating embrace.

Its demon tongues curl,
winding, twisting slowly,
choking them with dread
as it swallows up the night.

Brave young men,
shivering with Death,
beg not to be left behind,
alone in fields where they lay,
torn and tangled,
under snowfalls of ashes.

Silent, sightless eyes
stare into unholy twilight,
blind and bewildered at the sounds
only dying men can hear.

Spirits of the Dead shout,
crying out for vengeance
and forgiveness,
and for their own redemption -
all without a sound.

Colorless flags fade.
Blood on worn and broken blades
Slowly turns to rust.

Fathers' legacies.
All that they promised to be
Lies buried with them.

Muffled drums are still.
Cannons all sit silently
Under clear blue skies.

Children's eyes light up,
Watching stars turn into snow.
Hear them all laughing.

Snowflakes drift and dance,
Covering the frozen sky
With a lacy veil.

January dawn.
Frail sun illuminates
Frost-embroidered glass.

Clean, white pristine peaks
Reach straight up almost as if
They could touch Heaven.

Cold, bright, windy day.
Azure skies calmly murmur
Promises of Spring.

Early April thaw.
Shallow ripples race over
Their hidden treasure.

Bright, glittering stones.
The icy River Maiden
Counts her copper coins.

Soaring weightlessly,
Birds of Summer ride the wind.
No wonder they sing.

Autumn-colored leaves
Glimmer in the last few rays
Of a dying sun.

Green-scented pine branch.
Small red berries on bare twigs.
Plain winter bouquet.

Pale December moon.
Shining, singing,
Shimmering like the sweet ringing
Of her silvery laughter.

Days turn into years.
Sometimes through Montana hills,
Thunder still echoes.

Lock away your fears
So they cannot follow you,
Even in your dreams.

Safe in the shadows,
Hide your merciless regret
Where no one can reach.

Gentle, wounded heart,
You will learn to love again
In the light of day.

Lone remaining son.
Honor your father's promise
And begin, once more.


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March 24, 2003

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