Balances

In life
one is always
balancing

like we juggle our mothers
against our fathers

or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)

The Horses

Barely a twelvemonth after
The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
Late in the evening the strange horses came.
By then we had made our covenant with silence,
But in the first few days it was so still
We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
On the second day
The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,
Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day

Soil

we've ignored eachother for a long time
and I'm strictly an indoor man
anytime to call would be the wrong time
I'll avoid you as long as I can

When I was a boy we were good friends
I made pies out of you when you were wet
And in childhood's remembered summer weather
We roughandtumbled together
We were very close

A War Song To Englishmen

Prepare, prepare the iron helm of war,
Bring forth the lots, cast in the spacious orb;
Th' Angel of Fate turns them with mighty hands,
And casts them out upon the darken'd earth!
Prepare, prepare!

Prepare your hearts for Death's cold hand! prepare
Your souls for flight, your bodies for the earth;
Prepare your arms for glorious victory;
Prepare your eyes to meet a holy God!

40,000

at the track today,
Father's Day,
each paid admission was
entitled to a wallet
and each contained a
little surprise.
most of the men seemed
between 30 and 55,
going to fat,
many of them in walking

Heritage

What is Africa to me:
Copper sun or scarlet sea,
Jungle star or jungle track,
Strong bronzed men, or regal black
Women from whose loins I sprang
When the birds of Eden sang?
One three centuries removed
From the scenes his fathers loved,
Spicy grove, cinnamon tree,
What is Africa to me?

A Prayer In Time Of War

The war will change many things in art and life, and among them, it is to be hoped, many of our own ideas as to what is, and what is not, "intellectual."

Thou, whose deep ways are in the sea,
Whose footsteps are not known,
To-night a world that turned from Thee
Is waiting -- at Thy Throne.

The towering Babels that we raised
Where scoffing sophists brawl,
The little Antichrists we praised --

Love's Loneliness

Old fathers, great-grandfathers,
Rise as kindred should.
If ever lover's loneliness
Came where you stood,
Pray that Heaven protect us
That protect your blood.

The mountain throws a shadow,
Thin is the moon's horn;
What did we remember

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted |&| pieced -- fold, fallow, |&| plough;
And {'a}ll trades, their gear |&| tackle |&| trim.
All things counter, original, sp{'a}re, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckl{`e}d, (who knows how?)
With sw{'i}ft, sl{'o}w; sweet, s{'o}ur; ad{'a}zzle, d{'i}m;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is p{'a}st change:

Children Of Light

Our fathers wrung their bread from stocks and stones
And fenced their gardens with the Redmen's bones;
Embarking from the Nether Land of Holland,
Pilgrims unhouseled by Geneva's night,
They planted here the Serpent's seeds of light;
And here the pivoting searchlights probe to shock
The riotous glass houses built on rock,
And candles gutter by an empty altar,
And light is where the landless blood of Cain
Is burning, burning the unburied grain.

What Were They Like?

Did the people of Viet Nam
use lanterns of stone?
Did they hold ceremonies
to reverence the opening of buds?
Were they inclined to quiet laughter?
Did they use bone and ivory,
jade and silver, for ornament?
Had they an epic poem?
Did they distinguish between speech and singing?

Who Locked The Boys Out?

Once I saw some boys
Outside a gate
They had come to school
But they were very late
Everywhere was closed
All about
It caused me to wonder
Who locked the boys out?


All That I Owe The Fellows Of The Grave

All that I owe the fellows of the grave
And all the dead bequeathed from pale estates
Lies in the fortuned bone, the flask of blood,
Like senna stirs along the ravaged roots.
O all I owe is all the flesh inherits,
My fathers' loves that pull upon my nerves,
My sisters tears that sing upon my head
My brothers' blood that salts my open wounds

Heir to the scalding veins that hold love's drop,

September On Jessore Road

Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road--long bamboo huts
Noplace to shit but sand channel ruts

Millions of fathers in rain
Millions of mothers in pain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of sisters nowhere to go

Evangeline: A Tale Of Acadie

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman

The Idea Of Ancestry

Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews.They stare
across the space at me sprawling on my bunk.I know
their dark eyes, they know mine.I know their style,
they know mine.I am all of them, they are all of me;
they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.

I have at one time or another been in love with my mother,

Ballad Of The Long-Legged Bait

The bows glided down, and the coast
Blackened with birds took a last look
At his thrashing hair and whale-blue eye;
The trodden town rang its cobbles for luck.

Then good-bye to the fishermanned
Boat with its anchor free and fast
As a bird hooking over the sea,
High and dry by the top of the mast,

Hero And Leander: The First Sestiad

On Hellespont, guilty of true-love's blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoined by Neptune's might;
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair,
And offered as a dower his burning throne,
Where she should sit for men to gaze upon.
The outside of her garments were of lawn,
The lining purple silk, with gilt stars drawn;

My Friends

My friends without shields walk on the target

It is late the windows are breaking

My friends without shoes leave
What they love
Grief moves among them as a fire among
Its bells
My friends without clocks turn
On the dial they turn

Holocaust

As seen through the eyes of those who witnessed first hand,
and liberated the scenes of the Holocaust


The rain how it fell; the cadaver smell
My eyes transfixed on that pit of Hell,
Vapid flesh foul, horrendously bland.
But why this carnage, I don’t understand;

Retching, gagging, holding back the bile.