Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Holy Week Memorials


Love, leisure, and prosperity
are not ours, yet ours to give.
This miracle is performed
on a gray and smoky shore.
It is as pure and natural
as blood on white cloth,
consumption and purgation.
The swarming of this green host
makes it visible; our drab gear
shows that we know it,
and knowing it, submit.
We know well enough
that we are food for peace.
War is but the jaw that breaks us
when we are not swallowed,
unnoticed and alone.


Boys ...
This will be short but desperate.
Thank God the day was warm.
The bones grow cold enough
when a man bleeds away in the dark.
Thank God for gunsmoke.
Like snow it cloaks and softens
all the jagged edges
and angry colors of the earth.
Like incense it bitters the air
against the fearful sweet smell of death.

It lingers a little in the morning dew,
around the porch where five rebel generals lie
bareheaded on the bloody planks.

MEMORIAL I (Easter 1999)

Daybreak is coming.
Others were let to sleep along the way
but you were called to watch
as a man watches, faithfully and alone.
The dawn is dreadful gloom
before it turns to glory.
In those blues and grays are terrors
that the blackest night is free of.
Trusted is the man who is called upon
to taste the final bitter damp of night,
and to see the dawn, awake.
The day shall find him watching,
still watching, watching
as a man watches, faithfully and alone.