R. L. Barth
Wherefore my worde is still (I change it not)
That Warre seemes sweete to such as raunge it not.
The dead a-gibbering, and we who ken
Hear “Fuck it! Don’t mean nothin’.” Yea. Amen.
A Dialog Between the Heart and the Head
“The valiant populate these hallowed places!”
Along with cowards, fools, and hard luck cases.
Ghostly, we are like disembodied sounds:
Voices afar, echoes diminishing.
“Body count,” noun; unit of measure; see
“Battlefield,” “casualties,” “illusory.”
“To frag,” verb, transitive:
Kill one so others live.
Mother of cares, flattering brats about you,
I’m fearful with and sorrowful without you.
—Palladas (fl. 395-408)
Well, Palladas, the latter statement’s true.
I can’t speak to the first one, nor could you.
To Maj. William Umbach*
You learned that Top Gun fantasies are dense
With blood and bone and human consequence;
And yet, you’re only the foreshadowing—
For somewhere just beyond your other wing,
Past orders what flight leader could contrive,
Another Guardsman rolls into his dive.
William Umbach was the Air National Guard flight
leader who, with his Air National Guard wingman, Maj. Harry Schmidt, bombed
friendly Canadian forces in
Barth, R. L. “Poems.” The New Compass: A Critical Review 1 (June 2003) <http://www.thenewcompass.ca/jun2003/barth.html>