Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
 
Mar 26 · 1.2k
What I Will Miss
Chris Saitta Mar 26
When I die, I will miss
A woman’s long hair in the wind,
Not a timeless thing, but a thing
Without concern for time,
The way Rome always reminds
Of Greece, and Greece reminds
Of salt air and vines.
Mar 8 · 1.3k
The Bewitching
Chris Saitta Mar 8
Death undoes itself like a woman undoes her dress
With knowing look and shrewd-salt of beguilement
Of supple shoulders and bared back, of life shimmying
Down the legs of the longest dark road of disappearing.
Chris Saitta Mar 2
The goddess of the spent moon skulks to her feathery bed of fiery dawn.
Wrens through the uplands wend the fence weft with piecemeal straw.
Lips painted like pomegranate groves, dashed with fructifying sweets.
A kiss is a far-off and warm opening of lips like the sun into forest gleams.
Mar 2 · 478
The Lit Fuse
Chris Saitta Mar 2
The lit fuse of her lips touching off
A din in the black powdery night:
Illumined and immolated am I.
Feb 29 · 243
The Unknown Dictionary
Chris Saitta Feb 29
Death is the dictionary of unknown words,
Written on the pages of the unbound book
Of earth and sea ~~ to no one, its soliloquy.
Chris Saitta Feb 16
The slavehand burns the leaves, though the bodies of soldiers
Lie at heaven’s impasse in the trees of dying looks, barring them
From peaceful death, the sad emulsified perch of love and heat,
Hung at noon like John Brown untended, bearded of sticky summer,
Heavy-headed swinging noon and the smell of honeysuckle blood,
Fetid day like the coming dirt of graves, the clinging air of disease,
Snake-winding down from the trees with no pleasure of the bitten apple.
Feb 15 · 210
New Century Love
Chris Saitta Feb 15
Polyurethanized love,
Polyols and isocyanates
And one part dove.
Feb 13 · 379
The Going Blind of Rome
Chris Saitta Feb 13
The elucubrations of the lute, pulsing from the finger strums of starlight,
Plum-twilight of the Colosseum like an emperor’s bowl of plucked fruit,
As the night’s ghost-gods are tuned to Castel Sant’Angelo, Hadrian’s tomb,
Who drink the dwindling hours from the wine-stemmed glass of musical moon.

But come the times out of tune, the dwindling of stone is the going blind of Rome:
Rome is built upon millions of eyes closed with the underside of their lids tattooed,
By labyrinthine aqueducts, far-aging roads, and traceries of Nero’s Golden Home.
Then death its sight-sun blooms through; death the architect of Seven Hills renews.
Elucubrations here means night compositions or writing/composing at night.  

The Ancient Romans believed in the “Di Manes” or “Manes,” the collective soul of the dead.  Tombs were often inscribed with “D.M.” to acknowledge the spirits of the dead or the “ghost-gods.”
Chris Saitta Feb 9
Long ago, the mother died who made the thatchwork basket with her daughter for the fish wrested from the water to the stove,
     Long ago, the sun that loved them both died while the rope-wrought hands of the fisherman grew old,
          Long ago, the lid to the teapot stopped its clink when closed by the hand of the granddaughter who would think of them all and the buried sun when she looked at the stove,
               Long ago, someone like me wrote a poem that no one will read in a sunless room with a cold stove.
#fable #aging #fish #fisherman #sun
Feb 5 · 858
Sea of the Parthenon
Chris Saitta Feb 5
Marble made of seagulls’ wings, set in flight,
Their beaks foam and crest and rise for air,
In headwinds and feathered drag, upward lift,
Carve out fluted columns by tunneling vortex,
Beams of bluebirds made from cross-sky stitch,
Parthenon of flying tides and nested Acropolis,
Endless fossilized sigh of Saronic Gulf sea-winds.
#parthenon #ancient Greece #greece #sea #acropolis #seagull
Chris Saitta Feb 2
The fallen leaves are the shrouds of hoof prints,
The withers of breeze reined to time-kept trysts,
Gentilissimo, Cavalieri di Corredo, Italian knight
Whose path by pure lover’s look is made clean.

We go back, we go back to the sun caught by handfuls,
Like the Medieval snow melts into Grecian stream.

Gentle knight, to your galloping song of Winter:
The sweeping rush of grass and gathering refrain
Of bells surrounds the long sloping meadow of
The muzzle, snorting freedoms of wildflowers past,
Leaving its bosky thunderbrush of tail like distant
Summer storms and the slackening rhythms of rain.

We go back, we go back to the sun caught by handfuls,
Like the Medieval snow melts into Grecian stream.

The volplaning bird plucks from fish-eyed shallows,
A gargoyle perches on an ***** key, ever sustaining,
A woman plays the lute from man’s hollowed rib,
As the priests with sophistry sweep the dust off sin.

We go back, we go back to the sun caught by handfuls,
Like the Medieval snow melts into Grecian stream.
But the clock cannot turn its face from its tears.
Cavalieri di Corredo, or Cavalieri Addobbati, were the elite of Italian Medieval knights on horseback.

Here is a post-Medieval portrait (Moroni, 1520-1579) to give you some idea:  
https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/giovanni-battista-moroni-portrait-of-a-gentleman-il-gentile-cavaliere

Bosky is bushy.

Volplaning is the downward dive of a bird.
Jan 31 · 425
In Destitution
Chris Saitta Jan 31
The rain-modulated trees and the hoarse leaf
That in themselves tell a love so complete,
Were once the playthings of lovers’ sights
Who passed here once and once and never.
Love the destitution of love.
Chris Saitta Jan 29
The mouth is the small compass of the soul,
Without dials, true north, or magnetic force,
The ungaugeable instrument of the voice,
In directionless modulations of undertow,
To circumnavigate under cartographer’s pole
Stars guide our wayfinding-heirlooms of words.
Jan 27 · 310
Labors Done
Chris Saitta Jan 27
The clouds loosened from the sun
Like a frock from a tidywoman,
Past care with her labors done,
Crumpled rag thrown over a chair,
While a fan blows the loose ends
Of the apron ties like misty fragments,
The clouds loosened from the sun.
#clouds #sun #cloudy #cloud #sky
Chris Saitta Jan 25
To spend the hours compiling skies, indexing unearthly strata,
Mark the dog-eared page of moments with the hesitant thumb,
Waiting to turn each day and find death a bouquet of words,
All to view glowing creases under the closed eyelids of time.
#sky #reflection #eternal #eternity
Jan 22 · 871
Rome Sets on the Sun
Chris Saitta Jan 22
Rome has set on the sun,
Spreads the rays of its streets
And the warmth of its torches.
Caesar commands nightfall come,
To make florid incense and wine
And talk as one full of the moon.
Jan 21 · 634
Oblivion Conquers Us
Chris Saitta Jan 21
Keep your trees, keep them for your heaven of ashen dusk
And night like the pale-faced deathmask of emperors,
No reason that the commoner to oblivion is hushed,
These old-wise woods and leaves, peopled without us.

Keep Macedonian dust lightly conquered over the breeze,
So that it shoots its tail like the centuries-sole comet,
The scorched earth left by Alexander’s mapmaker eyes,
Swung wide like his Sarissophoroi over Persian might.

Remember the lesser grove of his teacher Aristotle’s tribe,
They have only slipped their sandals off, to bare themselves
Of sound and the concourse of the foot’s impulse,
Caught the lithesome wind, to flow outside our hearing,
And muse as empire of air and loss and forgotten walks.

Keep your trees and the darkening sky through them
That remind me of the passing into the past.
Never is the poem from tongue of ***** or plow.
Sarissophoroi were Macedonian light cavalry under Alexander, so named for the pikes they carried (sarissa).

Aristotle taught Alexander until his mid-teens.
Chris Saitta Jan 1
The only love I have known is the bird that lives in my ear,
In the wind and cloud tunnel of long ago, with a hot salve
Of sunshine poured into the singing hole, the warm honey
Of wives’ tales, the remedy of home against the world,
Though the song has since flown.
Chris Saitta Dec 2019
Nothing can be said from the lip of the sun,
To array with full redress the wind-flayed waters
Of the river-run and the naked broomrape of Spring,
Absolve naiads of their blued minstrelsy in venous scream,
Or pour a yellow songbird from the gold-rimmed cup of war.
Nothing is said in the liver-spotted ground of rain-ghosted gardens,
Where love’s monument is a blot of dried flowers and grayed thorns.
Dec 2019 · 291
Sunset Unwrapped
Chris Saitta Dec 2019
What is Christmas but the collected dead to say one last goodbye,
To speak in their fabulous, untranslatable tongues of old furniture
And the lacquered shine from the lighted tree and pablum of candles,
All that seems childhood’s undersong of pine and catch-full solitude of eyes.
Until the feeling past Christmas of unwrapped sunset and having said goodbye.
Dec 2019 · 641
Roman Peace
Chris Saitta Dec 2019
Her dark hair falls like the lowered trumpets,
Soundless as the eyelid-close of Accursed Gates,
Past the city’s outer walls and alley-clotted throes,
Some shield-hearted soldier sent to his earthen fold,
Her blood-rimmed sky-lids of night foretell the phantom peace
Of Autumn like a head sinking down with the fell-purpled leaf of war.

***
Love, you once guided the black looms of Autumn,
Olive-skinned druid, you are a dark everything,
And a toss of your hair flings to dust all of Rome.
The Accursed Gates were the gates beside the Triumphal Gates in ancient Rome.  For everyday use, the populace entered through the Accursed Gates (the opposite was an ill-omen) and exited through the Triumphal Gates.  For triumphs, the army entered through the Triumphal Gates.  For funerals, the way was reversed and the dead exited through the Accursed Gates.

The dead were buried outside the city walls, the land of living.
Dec 2019 · 375
America in 2019
Chris Saitta Dec 2019
America is an untended urn,
Not filled with wick of candle,
But with eyelashes burned,
Butterfly kisses of slaves to simmering plows,
As the Whigs, Mugwumps, and Know Nothings
Like Senates, praetors, and praefactors of old,
In new form, snare the grasshopper pulse of populace.

If we could once more lay our heads—like the universe
Rests its child’s soul in the lap of its native mother—
In our Indian maiden’s lap, where she once rolled
Maize flour and the dusted cornsilk of our eyelashes,
She could knead our eyes closed, and the stars would walk
Barefoot with summering spirit through our midnight homes.
Chris Saitta Dec 2019
Love is a left-mouse click, a flashing prompt,
For the cursor cross of a Crusade that never was,
And the knight who is broken on the scroll wheel,
And the lady in waiting who backspaces from the real.
Dec 2019 · 378
The Poet as Ferryman
Chris Saitta Dec 2019
Corded muscles of the neck ferry the voice of sky,
Charon of words adrift in a salivary dislocated sine,
A fracture of breath, the stenciled rowing of a sigh.
Psychopomps of moonlight, past-throated vultures,  
Carrion of clouds even if stripped clean in vulpicide,
Even if our scorched and coining tongues tip at stars.
In Greek myth, Charon ferried the dead across the river Styx and Acheron in Hades.  A coin was placed in the mouth of the dead to pay for passage.

Pyschopomps are figures who guide the dead to the afterlife, in myth and some religions.

Vulpicide is the killing of a fox.
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
Love, given over to stone,
Encoffinated warmth of sun,
Shielded from the prickled infiltrations
Of a many-menaced world.
But here we live too with porous beauty,
Here we kneel with bulwark of shoulders,
Then fall without a twitch to the wind.
Nov 2019 · 614
One Who Played in Sunlight
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
Someone must go off to death, little ones.
Though grandfathers hold back the darkened thrall,
The half-flit coven of breezes and icy vine that sprawls,
Until the black worms away at them and they grab hold
Of the language of death like a locket over their hearts.

Someone must go off to death, little ones.
In spite of the keepsake of hoarders, fathered by fathers old.
Death’s single-worded world speaks; the chain of old men folds,
Kingdom’s pawns, their broken tongues lie bleeding with sun,
The black fluency slips through, then childhood falls as one.

Someone must go off to death, little ones.
There is one who played with us in sunlight
Who sits between the ancient legs and watches us
Like a friend from a window who is too sick to play.  
Old men, soon to your rest, and I will let death
Carve its name on my shoulders while my spirit frays.
Nov 2019 · 469
Heart of Giza
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
Trace my love in the half-shell curve of a woman’s back,
Like the naked wetland of Egypt, ibis-nest of the Nile delta.
Lovely woman, throw your arm back like a tethered cord,
To this sledge-mason for your pyramids, this falcon-doting ward
Of your gold capstones, all-seeing eyes over the west-bank shore.

Love, our days of polished limestone are wind-scoured,
Left like a pile of petrified fruit from figs and bottle gourds.
Love, always forget, now the sand has filtered into my pores
And cascades into the empty shell of my quarried heart.
Nov 2019 · 542
Garden of Forever Weeping
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
Garden of Gethsemane, under your Mount of Olives,
The green-pitted translucence of night, where Christ,
Seer-in-knowing, writhes at the split seed of fission,
Break of night into the morning blossoms of Hiroshima’s ash,
Of mercurochrome and zinc oxides and the red snow of skin,
And his resurrection, forever once-again, in atomic flash,
The smells of honeysuckle and hay of manger,
And his breath of molten potash.
Nov 2019 · 94
Beyond the Poplars
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
What is to say beyond the poplars,
But the dry mouth of her death,
Like the hoarded provision of an echo,
Somewhere far off in my being,
Where darkening moves up the stone step,
Each footprint like her powdered breath,
Her shuddering voice channeled through my throat,
Shattered like frozen buds blown to the faceless snow.
Nov 2019 · 209
The Deed of the Last Son
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
Death has one gleaming eye transfixed to the comings of fathers,
The second one to mothers is bound.
Make no suture or stitch to its blood-seeing.
Death, when you took the first mother,
The last son your undoing avows.
Nov 2019 · 232
Materfamilias
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
My grandmother had forgotten everything but the ability to be good,
Innate courtliness sitting like a castle upon a moor.
Her world of insensate rains and fogs and heaths,
And still the hearth flickering from her lost eyes.
My grandmother whom I adored, to all the world,
Your goodness will go unnoticed into night,
Just as your eyes stared unknowing
Before the subsuming of tides,
While the world blasted through your bones,
Breath without force of inspiration.
Nov 2019 · 284
Battlefield Walks
Chris Saitta Nov 2019
Here, love is the far proxy of look
- She is dying a distance -
Yours travels from brook to sky
To the heaven wanderings of death in my blood,
The black smoke-congested veins possessed
By the baffled realms of battlefield
By the horrors of the mundane
From this old mouth, emptied of kisses.
Chris Saitta Sep 2019
She walked out of the watercolor storm of a fresco
Like a cowl-bound form in a light drizzle of rain,
Her mosaic tiles of ancient lovers’ eyes, ceramic-borne,
Just as her hips held the curves of the urn, kiln-fired,
The coiled heat of Greece still stinging through her flesh.

For her, the treetops had been the summoners of storm,
In kind, she poured down the wet grove of her hair, electral,
Pantheress of humid breath and fanged flair of lightning,
Tamed once in the cloudy cage of Pentelic marble of the Parthenon.

But the world piled dust before her, baiting with its groveled roads,
For her black mullings, much-tasted rain, and heaven’s leaves to fall.
If only the Michelango-to-come had carved the clouds of her
For the light to remain, shining its centuries,
Then maybe the thunder would have been left undone.
Chris Saitta Sep 2019
A pig in the grass
Sounds at scratching and bratching,
Scratching and bratching are sounds
Of the world at its last.
To view the engraving: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/391048
Aug 2019 · 246
A Pine Forest is the Hand
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
A pine forest is the hand,
The soul of the palm fans out in fingers
Like the clayey striations of the sun.
The forest has no sound but the bonebreast
Wandering round of a similar hand,
All but shut now except for the unspoiled nest
Of browning needles and the ancient realmless mound of love.
Aug 2019 · 551
The Time of Skinning
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
The furrier tells the bell by the time of skinning,
Archangels by their clipped wings as they fell,
Statesmen by show of divided hands at plenary ringing,
The wind by quell of truant petals from daffodil.
And even love tells its beginnings and endings,
By lips shorn of lambswool words and yield of bale.
In light or darkness, though our animal souls uprisen,
Still in their wordless and naked measuring dwell.
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
Love has become less and less than the loneliness that abides,
Shaped by death after death into morphological surmise,
A sense of evolution without atavistic ties,
(Like her lips forever disjoined from mine).
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
Pleiades seven maidens sigh,
The sweeping, coruscating gown of stars,
In stillness-rapt, the cosmos in collective gasp,
At Atlas, his amalgamated bulk of last breath.

***

We breathe in the gown of ending,
The snake tongues of our synapses
Flicking out the decomposed praeludium
For the saprobic stars to feed off the detritus of night.
The Pleiades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas and the Ocean nymph Pleione.  The myth varies as to why Zeus transformed them into stars: either to honor them after killing themselves at their father’s burden or in helping them escape the advances of Orion.
Aug 2019 · 566
Grandfather, Lift My Soul
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
Death comes close and breathes a little over my lips and smiles at my terror,
No more the night has songs for the snow, has love for the whiteness,
But lets it go to the last hallucinations under the sun.
Grandfather, lift my soul when this boyhood is done,
And think of things to tell me when darkness grows too cold,
I will be in the corner of eternity, writing poems for no one.
Aug 2019 · 684
The Most Beautiful Poem
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
The most beautiful poem is written on a shroud,
As if the stars closed their eyelids at seeing the gods die,
But still-gauzy foundlings like cities of dusted sunlight,
Bound so long between the pillars of Athens and Rome,
Disconsolate remnants in after-golds and winding sheets of stone.

The most beautiful poem speaks only to death,
So it may know something of our loss, our bereftness,
And like the turnkey of afternoon to evening
Under the warm-felt pressure of our reminiscing hands,
We too shall pass like long-limbed sunset along the barren grass,
Like so many solitary walks bundled up in Autumn mists,
And eyes filled with someone once there and absences to come.
Aug 2019 · 143
The Wax Seal
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
We have made too much of love,
Something it will never be,
Without touch or place or rosary bead,
Beyond ourselves and the human race,
But no nearer to infinity,
Without cause or prompting by war or peace,
Simply quelled within its own embrace,
The wax seal on our lips for its unity and defeat.
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
Moon of Pythagorus, such proofless arithmetic derived,
No sigmoidal curves or cold calculus of the divine,
But pale barbarian, war-bringer of straight lines,
Your sea drifts commandeered like lit ash-spears in line,
Or the thrashing of wind-whipped rags of horses’ manes.
Moon of Pythagorus, the phantasms of your campfires
Of waiting armies flicker like fireflies along the stream.

Burn me, Moon, with your fire-tongued spears,
Your haunt of horses, unbridled and reared,
Burn an eye through my heart like the oculus of the Pantheon,
So I can see my pulse beat against the ash of naked footsteps
Of those who make false shrine to me.
Yes, Rome...
Aug 2019 · 165
Symphonia Domestica
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
Love, what have you become?
In broomsticks and cupboards and pantries,
On the dust-covered stairs,
In the breathless rush of faucet water,
On the crumpled lampshade at night,
Love is the summation of an individual’s life alone,
Somehow still expressed by two across the bridge of language failing.
Aug 2019 · 991
Watermelon Dusk
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
My finest dusk was the watermelon kind,
When bats skitted in the shortcomings of light,
And on a picnic bench in the cool June of outside,
I felt the dogwoods and pines and other apple-greens
Fidget with insects in the newness of night,
I felt the only grace was
The watermelon kind, and though the world was newly
Dying in its freshness, the pulp squirmed
From my bloated, gleaming lips like
Blubber split from a whale’s side.
No, I do not condone killing whales.  Just a carefree, reminiscence of boyhood and little-boy grossness of imagination.
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
In the park, soft-study of sands and swings,
Where the birds while away the unabridged air
Like rains on green, copper roofs ~ their wings.
So I have touched my rainy fingers on the fountain’s surface,
And tum-tumed at the dumpy belly of a dog,
So I have felt the vendor’s balloons like cantaloupes for freshness,
So I have a pocket-change of smiles for all.
At the fountain’s edge,
Like green-molded quaystones feather-singed
By the touchstrokes of the arcing wings of the sea,
Or like a saucer of warm milk
For the alley-cats to drink the milkiness of sun
And then with their paws,
Plink at overturning the day into porcelain shadows.
Aug 2019 · 150
Sometimes Snow
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
Sometimes I want the snow
To fall over me,
Cover me
Somewhere in the woods.
I’d just lie on some fallen twigs;
Listen to them crackle
As I pushed my back into the earth.
Then I’d look up
And watch the white drop,
Let the snow fill up over my body.

I’d feel it sink into me,
Pour into an empty mold.
Cover me
And make me part of the smoothness
Of the white earth.
Then I’d wait,
For the rabbit or deer to leave its tracks
Over my white.

And I wouldn’t care.
Not care that the snow had been
Wrinkled~
Because I’d wrinkle it too
When I got up and left my tracks
On another’s white—
Maybe someone like me,
Who had watched the snow fall.
And maybe they’d stay longer.
But I’d have to go,
Because it’s only
Sometimes I want the snow
To fall over me.
Aug 2019 · 1.3k
Mothers of Long Ago
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
Sunset is a washwoman's stream of rubia dyes
And the crushed scales from the Kermes insect,
While the loosened garments of life slide
Over the ancient liquidity of the hills rolling
As the mountains rolling as the seas rolling
As the clouds rolling as the graves rolling
Like eyes rolling back to sleep.

I am pressed for lullaby,
Not the pillow-clap of thunder or the ether songs of Persephone,
Biding by her asphodels with icen fingers from plum-colored hell.

But press my ear in my mother’s lap of ancient sun,
Of peplos and himation and stola,
And listen to the vines and bunched grapes
And all of heaven sink in its commodiousness.

Press my ear to the sun-fed heart that flows
To the furthest span of the cloth-seas of man and
The solemn songings of the ever-deepening sky.
My mother all along smoothing out the wrinkled sheet of sunlight.
The scales of the Kermes insect were used to make red dye in Ancient Greece and Rome.

Peplos and himation are Greek female clothing while stola is Roman.
Chris Saitta Aug 2019
When I was too young to stand against the world,
I ambled its sempiternal floors and overheard clear minds
Blustery through the stark decor of man’s marbled winter.
I was too young to huddle in banners for warmth,
to follow festive the dizzy denizens to their
lightheaded classicisms, their sandal-freedoms upon desolation.
I was left word by regency, word alone.
I was a child at the base of dark thrones.
And too often sneaking looks to steal a seat,
Sneaking seats though no one was to come.

I am a child in a place of dark thrones,
Too restless to settle when no one will come.
Lying just to lie across the worldly floors,
As my clear mind blows the torches to sputter,
And the hallways, one by one,
Are wordless and long-heard.
Chris Saitta Jul 2019
Here hang the wine-sotted troubadours of sadness and clouds,
~Having played serenas to paramours lipping at the cup of an evening bawd~
Like tethered donkeys now with their packsong of pastorela and alba,
No more musical mensurations of the ****** Mary, Cantigas de Santa Maria,
But slung over the railings of dawn-blotted taverns or courts of renown,
Here hang the wine-sotted troubadours of sadness and clouds,
Like drinking gourds, their stringed citherns dangle from their shoulders,
Leaking the strummed honey-wine of sound like the retchings of the nearby sea.
The troubadour flourished in France during the Medieval Ages (circa 1100-1350), primarily traveling from court to court.  

The “serena” (evening song for a lover waiting to consummate his love), “alba” (dawn song of a lover), and “pastorela” (song of love from a knight to a shepherdess) are all song forms.  

The “Cantigas de Santa Maria,” the well-known “Canticles of Holy Mary,” are 420 poems sung by troubadours, each mentioning the ****** Mary.  

“Citherns” are essentially the precursor to modern-day guitars.
Chris Saitta Jul 2019
You who have never known the loveliness of love,
Gather your heads on the torn pillow’s edge of mud,
Under the wood-tar shadows of camphor-aided sleep,  
Where your low-flung groans are starvations of sound,
And the amputated clouds, insinuated with gangrene
And blood-stained woods, are still bound to the shooting
Stars that fell beside you and flung up hissing rays of grass.

Parents of the midnight sky, the stolen stars of your children
Open their broken mouths to the battlefield heart of trespass.
To their soldiers’ eyes, the floor of heaven is uncut grass,
Wet with rain and mold and the unlifted wings of Pegasus,
Whose unearthly hoof to unearthly earth scuffs the clod
Of the lunette for the cannons to divulge the great, stuttering
Coda of everything old, malformed of breath and bone.  

Some grass somewhere will now seem the hair of a sweetheart,
And those dead eyes will aways stare, too fond of love unknown.
So the dead soldier and grass and sky conspire to hold a woman,
So the soldier makes the truce between earth and sky,
Between man and the divine, though the chestnut trees    
In red human tongues, pay their deep-forested encomium to distance,
In misspilled gorgeousness like Apollo surveying his own tomb.
This is a Civil War poem that doesn’t pretend to examine causes or the sides, just the aspect of war and its toll.

“Lunette” is simply a crescent-shaped, earthen fortification that was used for cannon in the Civil War, with several well-preserved examples on the Chancellorsville battlefield.
Next page