Madrigal In Time Of War

Beside the rivers of the midnight town
Where four-foot couples love and paupers drown,
Shots of quick hell we took, our final kiss,
The great and swinging bridge a bower for this.


Your cheek lay burning in my fingers’ cup;
Often my lip moved downward and yours up
Till both adjusted, tightened, locksmith-true:
The flesh precise, the crazy brain askew.


Roughly the train with grim and piston knee
Pounded apart our pleasure, you from me;
Flare warned and ticket whispered and bell cried.
Time and the locks of bitter rail divide.


For ease remember, all that parted lie:
Men who in camp of shot or doldrum die,
Who at land’s-end eternal furlough take


—This for memento as alone you wake.

by John Frederick Nims

Other poems of NIMS (11)

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