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Celebrating the life of Marilyn Buck
Marilyn Buck.jpg

After serving part of an 80 year sentence for "conspiracy to protest government policies through use of violence against government property" Marilyn Buck was released and died of cancer after 4 months freedom.  But her freedom was already in her heart.  She shared that freedom by inspiring other women both in prison and out.   In 1999 she wrote: I offer back poems/ and occasional/ grains of sand/ mixed into clay /and fired/ into sturdiness."

I write: Red Poppy   for Marilyn

On Veterans Day neighbors wore them

on their lapels.

Pristine plastic

Blood bright flowers

to honor the fallen, mostly men

except, of course, the women

and children.  Collateral to the chaos

that puffed the chests

of men.

You and I are of an age

To remember those flowers

and how their presence

made backs straighten,

drew strangers together warming

their hands over stories of

honorable death.

Never wilting, faithless blaze

of color seduced them,

made death and honor


When, in truth, whether in a field

or a cage

the poppy is a sign of life.

Delicate, vulnerable, capable

of bringing a smile to your face

and remind us of peaceful things.

Where have all the flowers gone?

we puzzle at our own

destructive impulse,

turning flora into instruments

of isolation when all they ask

is that we honor them

honor life wild.


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How could I have not known

How could I have not known of this brave woman whose name was only a few letters away from my own? Thank you so much for introducing me to her legacy, however late. This evening I shall have an introspective internet exploration of her life, overlaid upon those times that were a’changing and upon my life as well.
Your poem is a pulsing red ruby, Jewelle. You have done honor to her memory. Thank you for your courage and insight.

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thank you . . .

. . . for your post, for your poem, Jewelle.


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Wonderful last line--among

Wonderful last line--among others!! The symbol of the poppy makes me think of the anti-war poems of Wilfred Owen, and of the amazing trilogy of WWI novels by Pat Barker, in which he appears. I think Owen, who was tragically killed 'defending' a canal some days after the war had officially ended, would be very heartened to see your work as part of his legacy.

It's very sweet that you honor Marilyn Buck in this way, also.