Sunday, October 24, 2010

Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

Let four captains
Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royal; and, for his passage,
The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

Halmet, Act V, Scene II

In time, I will write much about the past week. But not today, not tonight. My mind can't make sense of what it insists on seeing.

I feel the coarse flag under my fingertips, hear the military commands, the rifles. I keep seeing the same white ranks filing past row after row after row after row. White over rolling hills. Pristine lines. Always called to attention. It's the white, I suppose, which denies my sleep.

But not yours. Sleep well, Phillip. Your brothers shot for you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

semper fi

The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the market-place;

Man and boy stood cheering by,

And home we brought you shoulder-high.

Today, the road all runners come,

Shoulder-high we bring you home,

And set you at your threshold down,

Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away

From fields where glory does not stay,

And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut

Cannot see the record cut,

And silence sounds no worse than cheers

After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout

Of lads that wore their honours out,

Runners whom renown outran

And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,

The fleet foot on the sill of shade,

And hold to the low lintel up

The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head

Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,

And find unwithered on its curls

The garland briefer than a girl's.

To an Athlete Dying Young

A. E. Housman

Saturday, October 2, 2010

the time was neither wrong nor right

I have always enjoyed night. The softer sounds, the uncluttered smells, the paradoxical melding of lethargy and excitement. Everything seems to be either buzzing or sleeping. (I like to believe I am the former.)

I used to use the night. I used to walk dark streets. I used to spy dark skies. I used to touch the grass blades recovering from a day's solar beating.

Tonight, I remember what I miss. I remember a poem which makes me miss all the more.

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain--and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Robert Frost