Friday, November 11, 2016

Robert Verdon, #355, Remembrance Day

On the day I learned that

Leonard Cohen had died

A day after the Trump election

On the day the horseshoe bridge

Seemed to lead over a cliff’s edge

A day I remember, 11th November

of Passchendaele and let the managers manage

when the consciousness of the ruling class

split like the curtain in the temple

On the day, Remembrance Day, one minute’s silence

for millions gone to dust and Golgotha

unending, perfect as a golden face

to mask the shrapnel-holes

at the going down of the sun and in the morning,

remember, remember, on the day of the

Paschal lamb, of the sprinkled blood, the empty tomb,

when nothing is left but a dim diorama

with paint for blood, remember the staring eyes

the burning butterflies

remember, remember, remember,

reassemble the atoms of a dead society

bring it back as more than a ghost,

to learn on waking that all your dead are here again,

On the day that the world is unfolded like a silk cloth

on a feast day, a silk road to the setting sun,

the golden faces staring, imagined smiles, the

dead have no faces, life is clawed away by burning tigers,

over the cliff’s edge by the killing fields in which poppies

blow amongst the bones, rehearsals for the last days, the

war to end them all, scaling the horse’s neck with the missing

head amid screams echoing Guernica,

a single drumbeat for each stopped heart,

celebrating the luxury of the ultimate freedom,

Hallelujah, as we learn to end prehistory,

I remember on that day, reading the

Crucifixion story in Sunday School, how the future is at

once fixed and forever, how the women came to the tomb,

standing there like Antigone, when you cannot breathe for if you

weep you break like a temple wall, on the day that I learned that

I was a parcel of infinities doomed to perish like an old balloon,

at the going down of the sun’s golden face staring into the curlicues of a

wrinkled letter from the front now under glass in a museum

the gold gleaming living green knitting and purling a glorious new garment

On that day I learned the way into the labyrinth of mortality

that aspires always to be



  1. If you could
    hear Shanghai
    then the sound
    of two hands

    1. That's as gnomic as my poem (to me at least)! :)

    2. If you could
      be as gnomic
      as my poem
      then one hand clapping.

  2. What a great poem Robert. Heartfelt and terribly moving.

    1. Thanks so much Susan — it just 'came over me'. :)


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