Lay these words into the dead man's grave next to the almonds and black cherries--- tiny skulls and flowering blood-drops, eyes, and Thou, O bitterness that pillows his head. Lay these words on the dead man's eyelids like eyebrights, like medieval trumpet flowers that will flourish, this time, in the shade. Let the beheaded tulips glisten with rain. Lay these words on his drowned eyelids like coins or stars, ancillary eyes. Canopy the swollen sky with sunspots while thunder addresses the ground. Syllable by syllable, clawed and handled, the words have united in grief. It is the ghostly hour of lamentation, the void's turn, mournful and absolute. Lay these words on the dead man's lips like burning tongs, a tongue of flame. A scouring eagle wheels and shrieks. Let God pray to us for this man.
Edward Hirsch - 1950-
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Let's not forget the General Shuffling out in his gray slippers To feed the pigeons in Logan Square. He wore a battered White Sox cap And a heavy woolen scarf tossed Over his shoulder, even in summer. I remember how he muttered to himself And coughed into his newspaper And complained about his gout To the other Latvian exiles, The physicist who lived on Gogol Street In Riga, my grandfather's hometown, The auxiliary policeman from Daugavpils, And the chemical engineer, Who always gave me hard candy, Though grandfather spit And grandmother hurried me away When she saw them coming.