Poems Page 4


A shawl conceals her virgin form and face;
I will not look, the covered dead perceive
From their abandonment and our disgrace -
Even those who minister must leave

Bed of sorrow, road and street of flame
(Stone as well as human flesh can burn);
Let her go and with her is her name,
Merciful and ever-grieving one

The life of God is hooded with a shawl -
Raise it up to see the Blessed Virgin;
Use the clay of innocents for walls,
Pass before the masonry of ruin

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To waste this meat the soldiers must have fed
Or else, on human fatback they might feed -
Perhaps the scarecrow's living, maybe dead

It grows more tender as it sags, and looks
About itself for mercy, explanation,
Maybe fellow haunches on a hook

Someone claps his hands, choreographs
Impalement as a scene, a fine tableau
That moves and groans sometimes - he laughs

What's shiftier or cleverer than man?
He ploughs and seeds the field of war
With clotted blood, then covers it with sand

So clever and ingenious in defense
That even cultivated torment is of use,
To be amused, relax - *homo ludens*

And what will grow is human corn and wheat
A stem that's strong enough to bear
A conscious, gazing fruit of bloody meat

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A demon drops them down there by caprice,
The satan Highest Noon who loathes the shade,
A satan of the moon who has no face -
Whose head is that, whose legs are splayed?

Hear the dull concussion, woman, child,
Explosions' gleam fluorescent on the rim,
Headless, footless, faceless bodies piled -
Some incubus has torn them limb from limb

A monster, sphinx or devil lets them go,
Carcasses of sorrow and remorse -
Insatiable and stupid imago,
Cannibal who fattens corpse by corpse

Sober, drunk and murderous, well met -
The eater of the dead, the eater's pet

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