Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Katyn

A poem I wrote upon hearing of the death of the Polish leaders last week:

Katyn                     April 15, 2010

A husk of a fuselage sits
in the flattened circle of burnt tree
trunks. Our Solidarity is that our
history moves in perfect centennial
circles. A phone rings in Russia. A
phone rings in the forest. While
you were sitting here preparing your
souls to remember that loud
invisible moment in these woods,
it happened again. Things fall
out of hands. Some sit down
very slowly. A man standing to t he right
of the podium out of respect
for the one who will not speak
today reddens and tears saturate
his mustache. Become
a grain barge drifting down the
Vistula to Gdańsk‎ in another
century. A horse drawn plow turns
up a rusted Teutonic sword, too
heavy to lift with one hand. Our
ancestors were made of stronger stuff.
Our word for Strike was God. Think of
Anna Walentynowicz, and a picture
of Our Lady of Czestochowa in
a plastic folder hanging on the
gates of the docks. And only five
years ago—the Pope. September,
October, Oswiecim, Siberia. How
can we bear to consider the loss
of the sites your eyes beheld
when your death by fire tells us,
tells us with a bell of judgment
that we must see such thing
ourselves? We are headless in the
highway of all armies, and there is no
one to blame but God,
who is on our side,
and always kills the mourners.

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