Saturday, December 05, 2009

Hic Jacet

Like a commercial, death by quantity,
For that most dismal catalogue of names;
And we are pikers, grieving by low primes
And little stones on picayune display.
How dare we? asks the Russian winter. How
Now, this memorial mound of mismatched socks?

Have you not heard of Blutenwald? they ask,
Who populate the textbooks. No, by God,
I haven’t, but I blush, ashamed of 1,
3, a handful of minimum loss--
A butcher, a baker, an artisan of light
In watts too small for speakers on the Platz.

No one in history bears names like these,
Compiled like dogs and cats. They have no dates,
Vice-consular assistants; no pink rose
Tells aphids how they’re called, in Latin yet.
It snows on them in aggregate. It rains
On mockingbirds, on shrews and shrubs. On mine.

2 comments:

Nev said...

Sad, and nice. But I haven't heard of Blutenwald either - not that it needs to be heard of. And "pikers" - is that like "pikeys"? And not sure what the odd-numbers signify. Eventually, each of us will be able to claim a place where people like ourselves lie in mass graves. In my part of the world, the graves are yet to come, courtesy of the U.S.

RHE said...

"Blutenwald" is made up; it's pidgin German for something like "bloody wood." A "piker" is "a person who does anything in a contemptibly small or cheap way. 2. a stingy, tight-fisted person."