My ninth collection of poems, The Zen Master Poems, will be published by Wisdom, Inc., one of the world’s leading Buddhist publishing houses, in Summer, 2016. I’ve been a Zen Buddhist for over 50 years. I’ve been publishing Zen Master poems for the last twenty years. My Buddhism leans toward “crazy Zen” and is quite consciously filled with American references and allusions, including some to bluegrass and others to railroad crossings and Johnny Cash and frisbees. :-) http://zenpoemszenphotosdickallen.net
Editor's Note: I asked Dick if he had a poem for Veterans Day. This is what he said: "Yes, actually, I have what I think may become one of my most important poems, trying to catch that greatly divisive time in our lives and written in the persona of a young man during the Vietnam War. Feel free to reprint it in V-V should you think it fitting. I like to think it’s fair to both “sides” in those days that so changed America."
You were the soldier shouting at the rain
Who walked the college campus with a puzzled look,
Brought back, without parade, from Vietnam.
Once I hated you, your uniform, your name,
The way you hunched with buddies in an open truck.
You were the soldier shouting at the rain.
I was the marcher with a cause to claim,
Jailed so many times I thought I’d crack.
We wanted no more deaths in Vietnam.
But the helicopter war went on. . . and on—
A country ravaged when green locusts struck;
You could hear them coming through the rain.
A child could kill you, or a crippled man.
You trusted nothing; you got high for luck
And stared through burning eyes at Vietnam.
I burned my draftcard with a lighter flame.
I marched on Washington. You marched the jungle muck.
Necessity? Or madness. Who can stop the rain?
We were young men in the days of Vietnam.
-from Flight and Pursuit, Louisiana State University Press
©2015 Dick Allen