by Claudia Lehman
The songs are written for the things that shine:
the blades unsheathed and raised by righteous men;
the truth spoken in time; dark gates struck down;
golden gifts given, tokens friend to friend.
Yet what of those invisible? —breath, love,
the iron absence of those gone to fight,
and you, shield-maiden. Unknown guardian
of all your love loves—shadowed by his light,
your part may be the loneliness of war,
without their fierce friendship forged in fire,
without the tang of risk, the hope of praise.
You count the days and stars, your one desire
to match your strength with theirs. Is not your blood
as kingly as their own? Yet dawn’s gold curve
finds courage pressed again to tenderness,
poured out as sacred wine for those you serve.
Oh, unseen woman, waiting in the gates,
as the banners of your fathers are unfurled,
your mail-veiled quietness defies the dark
as bright as any sword drawn in this world.
Claudia Lehman lives in Paltinis, Romania, with her favorite poet, Kyle. She loves teaching, old books, Earl Grey tea, wildflowers, her comfort zone, and a mongrel puppy called Alice.
Photography by Kenneth Godoy