and “La Guernica in Color”
The Muse: An International Journal of Poetry:
Jane Beal’s Poems (online)
Jane Beal’s Poems (in print)
Let them bury your big eyes
In the sacred earth securely,
Your thin fingers, and your fair,
Soft, indefinite-colored hair —
All of these in some way, surely,
From the secret earth shall rise;
Not for these I sit and stare,
Broken and bereft completely;
Your young flesh that sat so neatly
On your little bones will sweetly
Blossom in the air.
But your voice– never the rushing
Of a river underground,
Not the rising of the wind
In the trees before the rain,
Not the woodcock’s watery call,
Not the note the white-throat utters,
Not the feet of children pushing
Yellow leaves along the gutters
In the blue and bitter fall,
Shall content my musing mind
For the beauty of that sound
That in no new way at all
Ever will be heard again.
Sweetly through the sappy stalk
Of the vigorous weed,
Holding all it held before,
Cherished by the faithful sun,
On and on eternally
Shall your altered fluid run,
Bud and bloom and go to seed;
But your singing days are done;
But the music of your talk
Never shall the chemistry
Of the secret earth restore.
All your lovely words are spoken.
Once the ivory box is broken,
Beats the golden bird no more.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Second April (1921)
It was in the fields. The trees grew still,
a light passed through the leaves speaking
of Christ’s great grace: I heard.
My body hardened into armor.
Since the guards
gave me over to darkness, I have prayed to God
and now the voices answer I must be
transformed to fire, for God’s purpose,
and have bid me kneel
to bless my King, and thank
the enemy to whom I own my life.
My father is standing on a railroad platform.
Tears pool in his eyes, as though the face
glimmering in the window were the face of someone
he was once. But the other has forgotten;
as my father watches, he turns away,
drawing the shade over his face,
goes back to reading.
And already in its deep groove
the train is waiting with its breath of ashes.