Peace Corps Writers
A Writer Writes
Read other short works about the Peace Corps experience Poems
by Matthew A. Hamilton (Armenia 2006–08)

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The Wishing Tree

Keeping watch in the glowing
reverie of tranquil forests —
are voices of angels —
they whisper to the dead —
who sleep on the roadside —
and give bread and water —
to the flaccid mountains —

Love is hung on a branch —
and hope scours for children playing

in the meadow—that pop up purple and pink
and white and yellow —

No one understands a child’s grief more so than a mother —
every waking hour is sifted through sandy minds full
of unsolved thoughts —
and time — thus divided —
 wrestles with now and eternity —
its only expression a knotted cloth —
midlife spirits dangling above the
high places between stone and fog — 

There is a misunderstanding between peoples —
because no one takes the time to —
listen to the sky —
and contemplate about the mysteries of tranquil bodies —
encased in the soils of history and abandoned rocks —
of the cosmos — or the
quiet branch where wishes are left in the hope —
that one day peace will come —
and with it —
the passage into new life —

Expedition into Mystery

I was in Gyumri the other day —
walking down the street —
when I came across a house between two vegetable stands — I sometimes
buy peaches and tomatoes there —
I had seen this house before — but paid no attention
to it —
it was just an ordinary house —
it needed some repairs —
things falling in on themselves —
chipped paint —
rusted parts of obscure objects —
nothing special until today — 

I heard the screams before I saw the house —
A storm of people gathered
like the waves of Sevan searching
for feeble souls in a bewildered splash of eternity — 

A woman found her 32 year old son hanging
by his neck —
his purplish blue and lifeless body
swinging back and forth —
a metronome of silence and stillness
within a bleeding mother’s heart — 

I don’t know why this man killed himself
and probably will never know why —
my only concern is to pray for him and his family —
his mom — a wife — a son
who is too young to understand such tragedies
of human frailty —

Maybe God will tell us one day
why such painful events happen —
why unnecessary tears must soak
the earth —
why the pains of death silence
the wind —
why life sometimes seems to be nothing more
than a fleeting voyage beneath the sand and shadows —

Matthew A. Hamilton was an English teacher in Armenia and then extended his tour to teach English in the Philippines where he is serving now. Before joining the Peace Corps, he was a Benedictine monk and later a legislative assistant for Congressman Patrick T. McHenry in Washington, D.C. Matthew was born in Bowling Green Kentucky.

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