NOTE: Sometimes a lament is full of beauty and hope despite the grief, as when a loved one dies after a long life of joy and sadness. But sometimes a lament, not with anger or revenge, is barely a breath into darkness. This has its place.
Mass, corpus, which once meant a Catholic
service, then taken over by science
for its bodily pull, now means terror
neither faith nor reason can apprehend.
I watch shaking hands place votive after votive
giving a small private light
to the darkness of the public shooting,
The flames flicker with hope. In hours, they are gone.
How long has it been since I met a person
of renaissance who could think at length
and speak without simple slogan,
tongue weighed by a body of knowledge?
I cry at the public wakes, cry when I wake alone.
Yeats wrote we must learn to love
each other or die. Today, my corpus,
in mass, my brothers and sisters, we die.
Mi Casa, Su Casa
Trenching for tree roots
I found a cannon shell
live and surviving
since World War II.
I called the former owner
of the home who said his Great Dane
had clawed up the shell
from a practice dune
for artillery near Sand City
forty miles down the coast
and with friendly fangs
refused to forego it,
growling with the bomb
secure in jaw’s grip.
So they put him in their wagon
and drove home and he buried
it in the back like a bone, he laughed.
They and their Dane
had forgotten all about it.
I thought of the fear
that must have frozen them,
fingers in their ears
anticipating the canine
like a modern rapper
skyrocketing to world fame,
Fort Ord ordnance,
a mine at the feet of our innocent
children, our humble garden
turned roadside Cambodia,
© 2019 Jeff Burt