The Future of the Sun

Take it from the ducks 

scrambling for the crusts of bread

we toss into the Vltava River – 


this is a place with real hungers.  


The people of Prague were still 

dismantling sandbags 

from the face of their city

twenty years after the 

the bombs and tanks 

of World War II tore 

though her.


There is burned in my memory 

the image of my grandfather 

falling to his knees

and sweeping off his hat 

to bend his head 

toward the ground 

that received the blood 

of the villagers of Lidice


slaughtered by Hitler   

just to show the Czech people 

what they were in for 

as he entered their lands

after Great Britain, 

France and Italy gave them

to him at Munich. 


(He left two villagers alive 

to spread his word.)


I don’t know how many heads 

bent in homage to the dead 

it takes to heal their 

arbitrary murder–


how many years it takes 

for the victims of brutality

to come back into the sun

of history. 


Yet there is a certain time of day 

(a certain time of life)


when the sun strikes the river

in just such a way that its waters 

are our perfect reflection


and we forget all sorrow.


It was such a day my grandfather walked me 

over the Karlovy Bridge in Prague, 

relating the stories sculpted in its statues–


telling me of the ancient competition 

between Prague and Istanbul 

to become the most beautiful city

in Europe


as both cities rose up under the sun 


waiting to shine on a future 

when soldiers crossed their 

beautiful bridges 


only to feed the ducks.

Madronna Holden

Madronna Holden has taken the opportunity of her recent retirement from university teaching to concentrate on her first love-- poetry. Over 60 of her poems have appeared in Verse Daily (as poem of the day), the Bitter Oleander, Equinox Poetry and Prose, the Clackamas Literary Review, the Timberline Review, Fireweed, and elsewhere. Her poems written in concert with the watercolors of David Wolfersberger painted on his 3500 solo bicycle tour of the West Coast, have appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Puerto del Sol, The Slippery Elm Literary Journal, the Chestnut Review, the Santa Clara Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Goddess of Glass Mountains was published by Finishing Line in 2021.

Angel with One Scorched Wing