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KEYES, Sidney

An early death

This is the day his death will be remembered

By all who weep:

This is the day his grief will be remembered

By all who grieve.

The winds run down the ice-begotten valleys

Bringing the scent of spring, the healing rain.

But the healing hands lie folded like dead birds:

Their stillness is our comfort who have seen him.

But for the mother what can I find of comfort?

She who wrought glory out of bone and planted

The delicate tree of nerves whose foliage

Responded freely to the loving wind?

Her grief is walking through a harried country

Whose trees, all fanged with savage thorns, are bearing

Her boy's pale body worried on the thorns.

War Poet

I am the man who looked for peace and found

My own eyes barbed,

I am the man who groped for words and found

An arrow in my hand.

I am the builder whose firm walls surround

A slipping land.

When I grow sick or mad

Mock me not nor chain me:

When I reach for the wind

Cast me not down:

Though my face is a burnt book

And a wasted town.

Two Offices of a Sentry I

Office for Noon

At the field’s border, where the cricket chafes

His brittle wings among the yellow weed,

I pause to hear the sea unendingly sifted

Between the granite fingers of the cape.

At this twelfth hour of unrelenting summer

I think of those whose ready mouths are stopped.

I remember those who crouch in narrow graves.

I weep for those whose eyes are full of sand.