August 1914 by Isaac Rosenberg

 

“What in our lives is burnt
In the fire of this?
The heart’s dear granary?
The much we shall miss?

 

Three lives hath one life—
Iron, honey, gold.
The gold, the honey gone—
Left is the hard and cold.

 

Iron are our lives
Molten right through our youth.
A burnt space through ripe fields,
A fair mouth’s broken tooth.”
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new friends

perusing, I found that last piece:

dusty charcoal circles, slightly smudged

by your fingers, your artwork

forgotten on a shelf. I lifted it,

my wrists shivering, the pale white

lines and seven simple shapes.

I could hear the squeak of the charcoal sticks

on paper, the squeak of your voice in it. That

memory, dead in my head, has grown silent.

It will not speak, so I will

set your art aflame

on the cold asphalt and dry leaves

where it curls up and dies glowing.

– not alone, someone else

stomps out the flames. And then we roll away into the night.

second.

the flames consume you

burning out of your dark eyes, speckling your skin with soot

defying stereotype

redefining man

let no one tell you what you must

be

do

look like

think like

to be adequate, accepted.

their standards are limited to muscle, skin color, sweat and guns

you are strength tied with blood

playing with limitations, reaching in directions misunderstood by the common ideals

Heavy feet half-treading the packed ground,

wearing holes,

soles thin to paper.