Poems Page 8


Primping, patting, tries her bonnet on,
Mirrored in her dotage as she gleams -
Skinny hen admiring a swan
She's still a gliding beauty in her dreams

Winking at the one that she adores;
Two dimensions show her faultlessly -
Hearing her admirers' applause
She knows the silken stunner there is she

Pathos, bathos, satire, and truth,
Those who find her laughable will gaze
Squinting at their own crepuscle youth:
'Aren't mirrors made as in our days?'

Even until death we won't surrender
Counterfeited love, illegal tender

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Shoot them! Feed them fire, valiant woman,
The dead become your deck, and what display!
Set the flaming match, arouse the gun,
The Frenchmen fly apart, the cannon slays

Etching in a silence, something's wrong,
The war against the French was long ago,
Renegades are generations gone,
All above the graves the forests grow

No, she's still alive, she holds the match,
Iron in the barrel seems to quiver,
A running of the seconds seems to catch -
Then fire in the hole, the shot deliver!

How can she be living and still dead?
The sacrament of fortitude is bread

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Let me not flinch or weep, the rope and ladder
Lead away to death, the seconds gather
Into one clenched knot, one beat, one pulse,
Into a fright that makes my heart convulse,
Though always in the past it was another
Who saw the scaffold rise, the light diminish
And every faithless consolation vanish

Now the friar holds the crucifix
Before my face as if he could annex
Another's bitter suffering to mine,
Christ's bitter double-crossing and my own -
But now I see my wall of hours crack,
The sun spring upward like a flashing sword -
Where is my sanctuary - Christ my Lord?

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