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And Have You Heard?

peguy2

IN MEMORIAM: CHARLES PEGUY (Jan. 7, 1873 – Sept. 5, 1914)

Athena in reverse, the bullet hits
The pate and pierces deep within the folds
Of reason, music, memory. In bits
And pieces, death releases what it holds
And faith is stopped in mid-stride. While the war
Continues counting on, a mournful muse
Has come to mark her dear lieutenant’s hour:
“He came to speak his mind on flesh, accuse
His blood for God, indict the empty thrones
And cast his songs like crowns.” The western world
Now spills more blood across his heap of stones.
Long after Mars had scattered, banners furled,
His tongue, unflagging, speaks this dying word:
O mon Dieu! Mes enfants! And have you heard?

Comments

  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

    Recalls the best of Edwin Starr.

    I’d call this a multifaceted little gem, but that’s too glamorous a description for a poem whose extreme beauty sets off the grossness and waste of the death (and deaths) it commemorates and decries.

    Excellent work.

  2. Quin Finnegan says:

    That is one hell of an opening. All the more so because it took a moment for which quality of Athena’s you were referencing. Wisdom? Okay … Defensive warfare? Okay … … oh, her birth …

  3. Jonathan Webb says:

    Yes, great poem.

  4. Thanks all. Quinn, glad you appreciated that Athena bit. I came … compulsively, I’d almost say.

    If anyone fit the definition of “Catholicish writer” it was Peguy – he started as a hard core socialist and slowly began a return to the faith (he was baptized Catholic) – so much so that he almost single-handedly revived the traditional pilgrimage to Notre Dame in Paris, or so I’ve heard. At any rate, he never did make the full return – the bullet got in the way. Apparently, according to biographers, he fully embraced the faith, but he had not gotten around to receiving the sacraments. And then the war happened to him. We can only wonder what sort of further flowers would have bloomed from his pen…

    JOB

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