You Are Not Your Own Sword
There r dead men to tuck in bed
Those dead behind in jungles n smoke found underground rivers o return
You could come too.
And u were right.
In ’82 you were not as good you thought.
We are no longer evil
Those books aren’t you, they don’t fit in your hand:
You should not hide behind the curtain.
U r not vialpondo
U r Hewitt
Not st Francis.
U did not break ur leg on the ice wall then drink ur way down the many-flighted stairs from club to hooch
U got flowers for the brigadier
U sent soldiers into the markets with script and shopping bags
You are not the highlander
Nor the twin black flags o death
U r not Kurtz.
Walk out the jungle
U were not Kennedy fer nothing
not a theatrical fer nothing
not a theatrical fer nothing
There is time to remember, now
There is space to remember, to rappel
To “Lieutenant turn that bright shining light in upon yourself”
It is now time
There is time
To turn the clear light upon yourself David
To assume the coat of many colors
Each color won in good and evil endeavors
Not the goth, horde or hun, not the carapace on yer shoulders
The scarabs gnawing at you and the fester
Walk out the jungle David
U r not Kurtz
It’s ok to leave behind those at rest.
The brother u buried in the jungle
The father u buried in the clay ‘mid the mud, the duds of the dmz
Yours not a light brigade
There is no flag for u in the sunny fields of Verdun, of the Somme of Flanders Fields
But yours is a trench for the surmounting
You who belong to the tallest mountain
Leave the river bottom
Leave the leaches you burned
The firemen u carried weeks on end, u can lay down ur load
He has returned to duty
Because he must.
But you, you David r free to carry children on your horse back.
Children u could love more than your beloved soldiers.
You tell no war stories — that’s a wisdom, everyone finds their poison.
Bear that child, David.
There r machine guns to dismount, beeves to reassemble, dogs to make agile
There is a white dog wants only sit next you
There r dauphin children to rise out the water
There r afternoons of a faun and a dog that retrieves, well, souls
There r softer voices w wh to recite your Shakespeare
Godot waits for u and St Peter awaits not u
There r stones to spit out, gravel-tooth to vomit
Gravel to dismay, broken teeth to spit out, gravel to expectorate
U who can recite Eliot in your sleep
U r not of the lost generation of a century ago
U who can recite Eliot in the snow where white dogs run
You r not the firemen u carried the leaches you burned, the carrion you cared
There is a towhead child on your left a malamute on your right
There are no angels no devils.
David, Mistah Kurtz, he dead.
Eliot wrote that he produced the title “The Hollow Men” by combining the titles of the romance “The Hollow Land” by William Morris with the poem “The Broken Men” by Rudyard Kipling: but it is possible that this is one of Eliot’s many constructed allusions, and that the title originates more transparently from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar or from the character Kurtz in Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness who is referred to as a “hollow sham” and “hollow at the core”.
suggested the ambiguity of both the dark motives of civilization and the freedom of barbarism, as well as the “spiritual darkness” of several characters in Heart of Darkness.
I had not thought death had undone so many
Saint Augustine of Hippo held that because of original sin, “such infants as quit the body without being baptized will be involved in the mildest condemnation of all. That person, therefore, greatly deceives both himself and others, who teaches that they will not be involved in condemnation; whereas the apostle says: ‘Judgment from one offence to condemnation’ (Romans 5:16), and again a little after: ‘By the offence of one upon all persons to condemnation’ (Romans 5:18).”
Letters To The Colonel