SMALL EMERALD ELEGY
Geoffrey Hill, Yves Bonnefoy, Elie Wiesel
Light at dusk across the grass
salted with white crosses,
poppies... graph of losses
rounding up the Somme. Mass
for the mass of young men gone.
On Cemetery Ridge
the plowmen made a bridge
of bone, unbreakable – and won
the day. Coraggio, amigos.
Time will shiver silver
when the last full measure flows
from infant veins, against the grain
of human servitude –
that dominant X (rude
chi-rho, nailed up in the brain).
In the barranca (by the monarchs’
den) the battered Consul
penetrated to the well
of Golgotha. His mind sparks
like the last firefly of evening meadows...
a small emerald octagon,
or 4-leaf clover – moon
over Eire, over the raging shadows
of the nations. Clue vero, Ariadne-
yarn. A catenary
arc, or smile – an airy
rack of clouds, threading the Neva R.
George Bellows, Rain on the River (RI School of Design Museum of Art)