Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Carolyn Kizer Poem

On a Line from Valéry (The Gulf War)

                            Tout le ciel vert se meurt
                            Le dernier arbre brûle.

The whole green sky is dying. The last tree flares 
With a great burst of supernatural rose 
Under a canopy of poisonous airs. 

Could we imagine our return to prayers 
To end in time before time's final throes, 
The green sky dying as the last tree flares? 

But we were young in judgement, old in years 
Who could make peace; but it was war we chose, 
To spread its canopy of poisoning airs. 

Not all our children's pleas and women's fears 
Could steer us from this hell. And now God knows 
His whole green sky is dying as it flares. 

Our crops of wheat have turned to fields of tares. 
This dreadful century staggers to its close 
And the sky dies for us, its poisoned heirs. 

All rain was dust. Its granules were our tears. 
Throats burst as universal winter rose 
To kill the whole green sky, the last tree bare 
Beneath its canopy of poisoned air.


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