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Poetry by James Scofield
24 January 1968
- A tear runs down the lamp shade
- from the tip of his bayonet, I can see
- canvas flapping, bodies rapping
- man, oh man, some rout, some rout
- to take home--tongues in gentlemen;
- red white and blue, zippers up!
- yes, yes, lights out.
For Christopher Ricks
As night moves off his splintered face, silence
lies on silence; the becoming light blinds him:
He hears canvas flapping--with no will to rise,
the sergeant's order
shrapnel in his throat,
he rests, recoilless on the balk, his eyes
on a seething Lamp aged to a stony violence.
On the sixth day of January, a canopy
of clouds building, dispersing above her;
snow nipped robins, their breasts pushed high
to the low winter sun--broke their thin song.
And she, his mother, raged at the spitting sky,
her son now a rhapsody of memory.
He hears a bird scratching for his worm, and knows
the skipping heart as his own; a liquid sound
like heaving slush, the harrowed brine of blood
foams from his black-purple head; something moves
his boots--and dogs drink from his chest; mud
and shadows splashing, he cries and he cries then goes.
The breath of cherry blossoms pink in the air,
she sits on her porch, her heart a space of stone,
consuming the civil nakedness of the flowers.
She seems a face without eyes or mouth; silence
lies on silence, as time granulates the hours.
The fallen are buried between the crib and the candle.