Lanthanum 7.12

This section was written as a sort of riposte to an earlier section, written on the 4th of July a couple years ago. I'm thinking here about my grandparents, Edward S. (the WW I vet) and Florence Gould (born on the 4th in 1900). It's also a counterweight of riposte to this earlier section (Lanthanum 3.12), written on the 4th of July.


A symbol is less than nothing, less than empty
word, husk of oblivion. Unless blooded with
life’s valve, heart’s pulse. Watered with
tears, that Liberty Tree. With the Thirty-

Third Division he was in the St. Mihiel drive...
for gallantry in action... Meuse-Argonne...
decorated... Silver Star
. Verdun Medallion.
His Book of Common Prayer, peppered, hived

with shrapnel. Florence, at home, barely
grown yet. Father swept off in the flu
rampage. Starts going to church then (blue,
yearning). Born on the 4th of July (1900).

The sabbath day, the sabbath day
rooftops the world with its gray
cloudy clerestory; & my old tree
(shrub mountain laurel) blazes 33

99 strings of alpine bells (their echo-
avalanche). Thus I follow the yoke of
your wool-shrouded shoulders (odd murk-
moody bulwark). To that pin-oak (riveted,

revolving axle) where my seven weak
candles join the fifty stars. Galaxy
of mortal gravity & winking lights, cast
up ahead... Amalgam-sign (meekness,

fortitude). For the grain of the song stems
through suspension-spaces in a hollow nave ‒
as snowbound Berryman jumps from his grave
or branches nest above brave woodchip throng.


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