(by Joan Baez, March 27—April 6, 2013)
In the lobby at the Metropole,
his slate eyes and hair and pajama accentuate
his childlike face.
She remained in her hotel room
a fortnight, painting him
from a photograph.
She had been here
the Christmas of ’72,
in the bomb shelter among the other shaken guests,
composing a song
for the vanishing sons.
Where is he now,
the young white flower against the burning dawn?
• • •
Connie T. Braun is an author of two books of non-fiction on the World War II immigrant and refugee experience, and two poetry chapbooks. Her poetry, creative non-fiction, academic papers, and reviews have been published in various journals, and her poetry appears in various anthologies of Canadian poets. She is a member of the League of Canadian poets, the Canadian Author’s Association, and has served on boards for the arts and writing, and peace studies. She is currently immersed in a new work that blurs the lines of past and present, and of poetry and prose, as a witness to history’s sorrows, probing both the darkness and that which is illuminated. She writes and teaches in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and for almost four decades has lived with (and laughed together with) her first love, E.
Note: Joan Baez stayed at Hanoi’s Metropole hotel over Christmas in 1972, at the time the United States Air Force unleashed Operation Linebacker II, its most intensive bombing campaign since World War II. During a return visit, she painted “Buddhist Novice” in the Somerset Maugham Suite of the Metropole, and it now hangs near the reception desk. Click for more information.