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Watching the Bomber Pass Over

ISSUE:  Autumn 1976
How can we speak of eyes and seasons
(or a tree-sore in the shape of a horse-collar)
when the eyes are yanked upwards
and the lightest season made thicker
by the indifference of its metal?
And that is not everything, for in
the time it takes to start a wind,
this romance of progress, this story
of wings, this monstrous dare,
can be brought crushingly to earth.

How can we bend to the nibbled bark
of the sapling, and fence round
the wind-torn and weeping bushes,
when the moon which was our candy father
is a stone’s throw and a dry station?
How stake tomatoes and thin the lettuce
when war is a question of permission,
and the history of the human passion
is written by a clock seeking a promotion,
and History loves Hitler, not Schweitzer?

You know the way the water for flowers
passes them by and remains a while below
and then is slowly drawn upwards
lighter for the settling, leaving its grit,
without which it would never have fallen,
to the soil: well, that is the way it is.
Grief falls everywhere. How joyful we are!
Around us spring up lives like ours,
not one of us has all the cares of the world!,
not one of us escapes some little happiness!


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