The Woods in Concord

         Down by the oaks tonight
you might still find a musket boys
but stay lively 
for the feral cats in the underbrush. 
In the forest we carved from a still 
greater forest
there was the lesser forest
we lived in.
Have you seen the boys of means 
up at the old stone brook,
they will say 
you feel pretty narrow 
for a good boy. They will ask you
if you fall every night, 
and for what. You'll hear the story 
of three decades of winter
and worse luck for someone else's
daddy. They will sell what they got 
for free 
and give up freely
anything no one else would buy. 

Down at that tumbledown a boy
might find himself 
a black charger with wet haunches—
no, it's a tree. But mark it, 
the older ones 
whinny, playing older in a fortress 
up the canopy, 
if we'd wanted to whittle you into
a gun, we could have,
if we'd wanted to light you up, we 
could have,
if we'd wanted to strangle you here
in a crib of black twigs and moss 
in the grim dark 
behind your house, we could have.


                                 and backwards go
the men into the garden, and what is it
          herding them
but a haircut and a vacuous look they had
when they were twenty,
          which earned its horns twice over
          if they had the same
cut and look
when they were thirty. Forget about great

men, and soon the great forgetting
will be over, leaving all that is left all over.
Forward go long sleeves, a longitude,
and shame.
          What is herding them
you are. All over the world, curtains drew
          and obscured lush portages
the world over, and there were some sighs

but mostly it was better than continuing
to want better. Ponies cannot love
children. But O, those ponies. Those ponies.

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Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
    Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
    And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
    Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
    Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
    We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
    When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
    To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
    The shaft we raise to them and thee.