We few, we happy few

                        i.m. John Berryman (on his birthday)

October burnishes the oaks
to ruddy bronze.  Ancient
St. Crispin’s Day, meant
for veterans, the player-folks

of Agincourt & Balaclava
(ours not to reason
why)... bright caparison
of mental mists, pink pillbox (ah,

Jackie).  Man, the intelligence
of his soil... what triggers wars?
Mobs of blood & tears...
flame, shadow-boxing with a fence...

In chessboard worlds of red & black
for every victor there’s
a loser too – King Henry’s
brother-band meets Paris Jack,

sad Roy du Jour.  So each Garfield
meets his Guiteau – the best
& worst, the first & last,
the wheat & tares blent in a field

of glory (shriven up in sheaves).
Was it for blood & soil?
Intelligence of soul
says no.  What man or woman loves

in battlefield or study is
glory itself, & fellowship
in pain (joined at the hip) –
not flags or nationalities


but one star over Ark & Argo-ship.
Light from a tiny acorn
grows resplendent Okean
sunlight of restoration (skip,

Jackie, Jean, around that Minotaur
of stupid pride – a hollow
idol full of nothing, O).
This living Imogen is where you are.

Let’s stand with that Shakespearean
from this day to the ending
of the world.  His battling
with fright (mother loss & father gun)

an inward thing, not of the arrogance
of windy crowds (a victory
over himself the only
guarantee of happiness).  An instance

for the rest of us (the human race,
that is).  Restoration
of an idea – of a nation
of united nations, reconciled by grace

& with humility.  Familia of Man.
As Imogen stepped from the cave
so Henry might rise from his grave
– somehow Franciscan, now.  His plan

simply to walk across these states
barefoot, like Mark Baumer –
glad-handing poet-palmer,
Johnny Appleseed (with acorns, dates).


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