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Poet of the Week After the Battle, the Debris

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Jim Turner

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 8:00 am

Of earth now, these twenty-one,

drifted here by deadly tides,

patiently, at supine attention,

dressed right in single rank,

turn to follow the turning sky.

The silent pines stand watch.

To dark boughs the wind hums its dirge.

No tears fall from the sun’s blind eye.

The warm kiss of sunlight

nor the soft caress of shadow

will quicken their blood

or tempt them from their post.

Erased from their faces

at last the fine calligraphy

that spelled their names.

Curious flies braille that faded tracery,

reading there no human history.

Nor will they read this:

Their harmless games of childhood

had but lately turned to war,

that rigid schoolof pass or fall.

Teachers now, in vacant rooms;

nowhere on earth will an ear

attend their clarion silence

or hear the eloquent lesson

their obedient postures compose.

Already the sentinel pines

sprinkle upon them

needles they have thrown away.

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