by Elise Partridge
1. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
White marble. Rolled sod.
Black-shod guard: shining shoes
glide up and down red carpet.
The steed's bronze lip disdainfully curls.
Inside a colonnaded rotunda,
under a Latin diadem,
cases of medals and rosettes.
2. Civil War Battlefield
a letter from an eighteen-year-old, bragging
we’ll whup ‘em yet!
His dingy, bullet-shredded epaulet.
The wire-rim glasses and dogeared Bible
of the grandmother who refused to leave her house
when the battle started.
(She died at noon under an exploding shell.)
A grasshopper, clinging to a swaying stalk.
A mower roaring over the field.
(from the W.B. Yeats Prize poems, 2001)
It is September 11 - and so we cannot help but remember.
But what really happened? an excuse for war?
sacrifice of the innocents? Now that we have surpassed 1000
dead US soldiers and countless thousands of dead Iraquis,
what has been accomplished? why are people cheering for a
president who prides himself on this horrid accomplishment?
It is September 11 - and we wonder why our world changed.