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With the stone question In the heads ofGreek statues Who ask where their arms And legs and the tips oftheir noses Have gone. Your two sons took you Under the arms, out through The students, aging themselves, And brought you to a broad field, Green turning paler with dusk. You pulled a cane from a bush And sat there, looking at nothing But how it all whitens and darkens, Bourbon and beer still fasting, Still tasting ofghosts, who all like it. The Confrontation oftheHero -April, 1945Claw -hammer, hay, and grease, We club the engine from its crate, Swinging, and harness the nacelle. The dog's head blown from earth By propeller blast, then buried, then Stencilled to hem the nosewheel in its jaws, Looks offbetween us at quiet, Increasing, until there is a sound. I drag on the hemp and chain ofthe pulley, But the engine grinds into coral. Line astern through a smoked first sketch For swans, the craft come over. You place your foot, still, forward Sleeping in its flesh, road by road Into the island, and the coral shudders, Gives way, turns easily, a zodiacal wheel, And the beasts step from their stars over you And disappear in the sea and earth ofnoon. For a second you seem to move among them, Summons / IO Sewn as a flower on the Ram's light horn. You grow, then soar from the matted head And stretch toward night, swelling and foaming Into sparks, your leg-bone traversed By an incandescent angle ofthe pattern, Blue-white and fixed. The rest drops off. Down the long road where the aircraft break From dust, and wedge their wheels, There is no violence, and under the stumps Ofthe plantain wood you turn like stars, And a spring forces suddenly open, Shining and groaning, at your ear. A bulldozer moves with the sun downhill, Mice racing softly before the blade. In, where wire-meshed bulbs are set, I hear the right hand ofthe sky Purl, withheld. Searchlights brim through heads Ofhorses masked and run in a field offlowers To the knife, on the shell ofcanvas: Men running, wading the leaves ofshadow Strongly with their eyes. From hour to hour Medics bandage-roll and thread my calf Into the sea. Their needles buckle, slash, And hold to count; my nostril jerks at its hose; Light fastens to my shin. His blade Strikes on the sun let down through walls A man is putting up leaf by leaf. His whirring feathers fill my ears; His wolf-hound's skull lights up Around my serum; he swings his shield Flashing and streaming down the aisle ofbeds To cut his sight from mine, but I rise From cotton, aluminum, rubber, gauze, tin, And creep out on a leg like a double exposure's: Out, as the wind dives still, And the light from the high sword falls To the roads through my leg In dim and complex joy. My foot breaks New, as with throat-heat, down smashing the records Shed, slamming into tents, over bunkers. The Confrontation ofthe Hero / I I He dances like dust, low in the chalk fields As I sprint the beach past landing-craft, Fuel drums, crates, revetments, stars Waiting in delicate rain to fix my form at night To the north. In gold flats ofsun, he hangs, Not sure, because ofthe speed that takes my head Lashing from side to side on guano'd rocks. My eyes close in unforgiving pity On his dwindling shield. I sleep And wake. My loins draw in: I relax And stream all day and night As rocks, sea, sun, above the landing beach. A truck blasts through with a load ofcoral. About that spirit burning emptily Darkness lowers the coals into the nut grove, Where we blew on the soil, and licked with flame, Mud, from the fortified tombs. Looped with cartridges, With foresters' gear, dug in, I sprawled In the enfilade: the urn-shaped gun-pits rocketed Through my sights, and the island sang Glory for glory into my shadow, For the field lay clear to the sea, And the aircraft rose. I woke and knelt Over the ward, then crept, knee, fist, and stump, Into a crab-grassed, brambled gulley Where was a cow. Its eyes rolled And fell back. For a while I lay with my side Touching in and out ofthe earth, Until the dark boys formed in ranks around, And from above, as at a sign, all raised to their lips...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780819571540
Print ISBN
9780819522023
MARC Record
OCLC
726747149
Pages
494
Launched on MUSE
2012-02-08
Language
English
Open Access
N
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