The Balkans 1999

I forced,
Did take to the mountains
With my children slender;

I forced on them such leaves and twigs
As giving water would listen
Nettles not, crocus few;

We have put lips
To the fern’s uprooted heart
We have prayed for honeysuckle
And woken bees with a start.

I have visited upon these my children
Slender feasts of froze-broke flowers.

And upon their crackling lips
poultice from dug-under peat;

The flowers have gone to children,
every one.

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