A Pilgrimage To Saint Sickle’s Leg
Did they slash within the torrent, feuding still
and Noah already fathoms above them?
Was even the deluge not enough?
When the waters rise over our heads
and there is nothing left to dispute, will we yet?
From habit perhaps, or…just maybe,
we as humans must contest whatever there is.
Old Tom looked over the panorama of his morning’s work
that September in Maryland.
Before him lay the detritus of the first half
of the bloodiest day in American history.
Between bites of his peach, he pronounced,
‘God has been kind to us this day.’
Short staple and that accused gin cut a swath
four years wide and six hundred thousand deep,
blue, gray and abysmally red.
You can reach out and dip your fingers in it,
still wet and sticky, you can never wash it off.
This was not our doing, but it is our patrimony.
A field of fresh staccato rows,
provisioned with the best we have.
Plant one healthy young of the species.
Surround with decaying organic material and plenty of moisture.
One hillock per fleeting universe of hope and promise.
Its neither first nor last crop from this field.
An egalitarian cornucopia, it was prepared to overflow its bounty
in other locales and guises, bottomland, ridgeline,
round the calendar, we reaped.
And here we are met on another great battlefield of that war.
Another campaign into the past,
Another attempt to push the future back into the north.
Old Tom has followed his arm into the soil.
But once again, God his been kind
To the Army of Northern Virginia.
Its strategy has ensured it will lose this war…but not yet.
The vials of wrath must cascade onto the heads of just
And unjust alike, as though they were mercy.
So, we hold back the punch and look up into the fluid heavens.
There’s good ole Noah out for a sail.
He’s missing a hell of a fight.
He can catch the next one, there will always be another.
So, AP old friend, don’t we know better yet?
Strike the tent and come,
Let us cross back over these roiling waters
And rest together in the ground
Neath the shade of that first tree,
Before we learned to sin.