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A Valediction Against Eloquence

artillery

         We cannot know how much we learn
         From those who never will return,
         Until a flash of unforeseen
         Remembrance falls on what has been.
          – Edward Arlington Robinson

I find temerity an easy thing,
A second cousin to that bravery
Which soldiers, priests and changeless change
All seem to learn by heart, to hear and see
In each their several works – the deafening
     Of cannons, bells and clocks. Each counts. Each counts for me.

The almanac’s perennial report
Indicts the dates of E. A. Robinson,
Supposed locus for my own mortal tort –
A figure slated: 1869
To 1935. What years are mine?
     These sixty-six, a vectored fix to spec to span

Such integers? Let fire for mine commence
By azimuth with ticking, tolling tongue;
Arrange bouquets of fusillade, bomb blast
And dry percussion; rip a canyon mouth
From mountainside. What bombast can outlast
     Artillery’s timely canon of eloquence?