Stephen Vincent Benet

(1898 - 1943 / Pennsylvania / United States)

Elegy for an Enemy


(For G. H.)

Say, does that stupid earth
Where they have laid her,
Bind still her sullen mirth,
Mirth which betrayed her?
Do the lush grasses hold,
Greenly and glad,
That brittle-perfect gold
She alone had?

Smugly the common crew,
Over their knitting,
Mourn her -- as butchers do
Sheep-throats they're slitting!
She was my enemy,
One of the best of them.
Would she come back to me,
God damn the rest of them!

Damn them, the flabby, fat,
Sleek little darlings!
We gave them tit for tat,
Snarlings for snarlings!
Squashy pomposities,
Shocked at our violence,
Let not one tactful hiss
Break her new silence!

Maids of antiquity,
Look well upon her;
Ice was her chastity,
Spotless her honor.
Neighbors, with breasts of snow,
Dames of much virtue,
How she could flame and glow!
Lord, how she hurt you!

She was a woman, and
Tender -- at times!
(Delicate was her hand)
One of her crimes!
Hair that strayed elfinly,
Lips red as haws,
You, with the ready lie,
Was that the cause?

Rest you, my enemy,
Slain without fault,
Life smacks but tastelessly
Lacking your salt!
Stuck in a bog whence naught
May catapult me,
Come from the grave, long-sought,
Come and insult me!

WE knew that sugared stuff
Poisoned the other;
Rough as the wind is rough,
Sister and brother!
Breathing the ether clear
Others forlorn have found --
Oh, for that peace austere
She and her scorn have found!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Form:


Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: sister, brother, snow, woman, silence, elegy, hair, peace, red, wind, alone, god, women

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Elegy for an Enemy by Stephen Vincent Benet )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie - 2 Points Luna Tsuki (5/13/2014 1:11:00 AM)

    Rest you, my enemy,
    Slain without fault,
    Life smacks but tastelessly
    Lacking your salt!
    Stuck in a bog whence naught
    May catapult me,
    Come from the grave, long-sought,
    Come and insult me! (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Follower, Seamus Heaney
  4. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  7. If, Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  9. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  10. Dreams, Langston Hughes

Poem of the Day

poet William Wordsworth

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. Once More, Marites C. Cayetano
  2. Now it is my turn, gajanan mishra
  3. The Riches, Cee Bea
  4. Forgotten, Priyanka Bhowmick
  5. The courage to fight, Yisel Chong
  6. Segment replicates the Whole, Pranab K. Chakraborty
  7. The Monday After The Weekend, Ernest Elliot Daka
  8. More than my knowing, Pranab K. Chakraborty
  9. These are snow, as far as I know, Pijush Biswas
  10. 1, Diane Hine
[Hata Bildir]