In villages and on farms
Old ones lay themselves down
So their grandchildren
Can eat a little more rice,
Have a little more warmth.

Addendum to a War

Huck Finn scouted for Sheridan,
Tom Sawyer piloted steamboats
For the South. Neither survived,
Neither is marked by a stone.
They’ll not appear in words again.
Only river smoke and bird song
Recalls what they did as men.


Lilting of Kildare, Cork or Kilarney, 
She says to lie oh so still oh; 
(still as death, glad as a babe, o lucky me) 
Hugs my face to her bosom tightly 
As she drags a sensor firm and slow 
Across my chest to sound and chart 
A derelict heart full fathom five below. 

Even my mother’s tired sighs 
Can be heard down there still, 
As she grudges a life to her son; 
No, there are no lullabies; 
A child herself, she never sang. 

Now, all I desire is this Irish rose to sing — 
By the Rising of the Moon, O Danny Boy, 
Cole Porter, an ad jingle, any damned thing! 
Your smile, your voice could forever cure this heart 
but as you leave, I can only say, “Erin go bragh.” 


They lean and stretch out of long 
narrow windows never meant to open;
into the morning they reach out
as if hanging wash or gossiping
floor to floor with neighbors or
watching for parades of victory
to cheer above and throw confetti.

Some will stay but most will go;
pirouette, tumble or jack knife
joining hands or just solo,
dive into this sweet coolness
of summer turning fall.