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Weldon Kees

(1914 - 1955 / Nebraska / United States)

Variations on a Theme by Joyce


The war is in words and the wood is the world
That turns beneath our rootless feet;
the vines that reach, alive and snarled,
Across the path where the sand is swirled,
Twist in the night. The light lies flat.
The war is in words and the wood is the world.

The rain is ruin and our ruin rides
The swiftest winds; the wood is whorled
And turned and smoothed by the turning tides.
--There is rain in the woods, slow rain that breeds
The war in the words. The wood is the world.
This rain is ruin and our ruin rides.

The war is in words and the wood is the world,
Sourceless and seized and forever filled
With green vine twisting on wood more gnarled
Than dead men's hands. The vines are curled
Around these branches, crushed and killed.
The war is in words and the wood is the world.

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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