Monday, September 20, 2004

Requiem for the 20th Century

3. Sequence: Day of Wrath

I hear the shofar, the Ram's horn,
reverberate through the generations
and the bagpipes calling the sworn
to raise the banners of their persuasions.

In a quiet grove where cottonwoods mourn
the memory of oaks that Druids praised,
I hear the echoing silence of a rams horn
below a sky a wispy cloud has crazed.

I hear the martial echo of boots
on asphalt streets while millions die
breathless like an octet of flutes
keening, then fading as does a heavy sigh.

Music wails over women raped
beneath a morning's discordant sun,
and over men in sleep unshaped
on grates where steam supplies oblivion!

Notes skip, as do the heavy winds,
to blight the leaves along the acres of the rich,
to rustle through broken panes the blinds
that reprise the empty airs in empty pitch.

A river burns in flames staccato,
like small arms fire in shadow lands ahead,
and the women who come and go
talk of living and avoid the dead.

The flames and the water fall round
to the sea and die as the chords fade
while seawater condemns the ground,
puling on empty beaches of bones unmade.

The women surge and wail to mourn
where tomorrow's sun fades in crimson
through reflections of wind-born
leavings that kill us before we are begun.

The waves end with whimpers against the land
under a cliff where granite protrudes
and the sunset stretches a purple band
where nothing that is beautiful intrudes.

Let the sand be a tombstone
and the oily water the final damn
as in the lingering notes of a trombone;
let was be finale of am.

Let the meek return to their own;
and the world end not in fire or ice
but in ashes slowly, slowly cooling down
in a late frost falling on the burial site.



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