The General

See below for credits

“The General” – written and read through Walter

The accounts from the front were disturbing
as the raw data poured in from trusted sources.
The five-star general in the war room reviewed reports,
tallied resources, consulted maps and charts,
developed strategies, and created a master plan to fortify and protect,
decades of experience concluding that decisive action
must be taken against this enemy for survival.

The general had seen this grim scenario before
and remembered the outcome of wrong action,
recalled the cost of failure to react brutally.
He looked to the future and played scenarios
that pointed to a terrible cost,
a cost he was not willing to pay again.

However, the general remembered that his role had recently changed.
In the past he had autonomy to act unilaterally,
so trusted was this grizzled veteran that no oversight was considered,
no course of action denied.

The general now reported to a new superior and had doubts
about the effectiveness of one who was nowhere near the front,
one who seemed to be distant and yet was now entrusted
to give assent or veto any course of action proposed.

The general picked up the phone, the red phone,
the line of communication put in place for just such emergencies.
There was no acknowledgement on the other end,
just deep silence as the general gave his account of the threat
and made his recommendations.

The general listened, instructions were communicated to him,
this superior must possess some knowledge he did not as his
orders were to stand down, not engage, observe and report, to stay the course.

Madness the general thought, madness to allow the enemy
to advance as it had, unchecked, unopposed.
The general took no satisfaction in knowing the outcome of this battle
would not be his, that his superior would bear the responsibility
for failure to react.

The general turned his attention back to the threat,
closer now than before, so close he could see every detail
including the enemy’s weapons systems at the ready.

The general followed his orders as his training took over,
a sense of calm acceptance flooded through him
and through the systems at his command,
systems capable of striking, defending, destroying.

Meanwhile, Fred watched the bee nervously,
recalling a memory of being stung as a child.
Yet he relaxed as the bumblebee came close, curious, and made a lazy,
meandering circle around his head and bumbled off,
disappearing from view into a dense bunch of flowers.

Of course the headlines proclaimed the general a hero.

The General: Ego / Separate self / mind / ignorance
Raw data: Input from the senses
Trusted sources: The senses
Failure: A different outcome than desired
The front: Maya, The "outside" world
Master plan: Reaction based on fear, self-preservation, ignorance
Grim scenario / The enemy: A perception based on a memory
The General (remembering) / Communication: Grace
Autonomy: The belief in a "doer" of actions
The Superior / Silence: The Self
Training: Seeking
Systems: The body
Fred: An (apparent) person
The bumblebee: Innocence
The headlines: Ego claims a positive outcome as it's own

2 thoughts on “The General

  1. This general sounds very familiar!

    Delightful, Walter! I especially enjoyed your reading of it. Glad to hear Fred and the Bumblebee escaped unscathed.

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