Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,678 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

To Beat A March - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

The fortifications became striking
At night—
The way they light up the wall
For the enemy,
Silhouetting the frightened soldiers—
The chirping crickets listen
To the ground purr far across
The distant land—
In the morning,
The lady with the red bicycle
Comes to visit, breathless and dewed,
The palms of her hands stained
From working in the vineyard—
All the soldiers tell her
She is a belladonna,
Some fortunate father’s beautiful daughter,
And they sing love songs
When she rides up to the fort—
Sometimes they get drunk
And light off fireworks,
The quickly dying pinwheels,
The brightest colors of silvers and gold,
Cadmium and azure,
That, like her, exists nowhere else in the world
Except for the few leaping seconds in the crackling air;
But only one soldier truly loves her,
The one she goes to in the quiet corners
To kiss and press against his starched uniform—
But they are afraid to make love,
Because all the soldiers are waiting—
The woman is waiting too,
Lighted upon the battlements
As if standing on a street corner,
And her heart is like a hare waiting in the
Tall whispering grass for its chance to move—
The land is waiting too.
Over the low hill where the daylight comes
In runny pools and shallow estuaries
Eddying through the dry olive groves.
Drums are slowly beginning to beat a march.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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