Battlefield (After)

Battlefield (After)

They lay, blooded clay,
late in the fragmented day,
their cracked bit of dawn withdrawn
from ongoing time; what had been housed in them gnawed
by lead.
What was left swelled,
as darkness fell,
rounding to cratered planet, bellied moon,
as if some elemental piece of them
thought it might pass for a body
that could, insistent, return whole,
given time,
though its revolution would not take it
to this same spot
but to some soft hill
where grass lay still
beneath their feet, and
stars stared brightly down,
night’s pupils.

For Grapeling’s (“It Could Be That’s) “Get Listed” prompt on with real toads, the words from Pablo Neruda poems.  (Thanks to Grapeling, who is just a wonderful poet and blog friend.)

The pic was taken by me at the Plains Indians exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York tonight.  I don’t particularly mean the poem to be about a battle involving Native Americans–honestly, I was thinking more of WWI or the Spanish Civil War or other battlefields, but the picture was on my phone.  However, it is an incredibly beautiful exhibit; the painting above about the death of Sitting Bull.  

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11 Comments on “Battlefield (After)”

  1. Opal Onyx Says:

    I love the ending:
    stars stared brightly down,
    night’s pupils.”

    And the accompanying image!

  2. M Says:

    the closing line is smashing. I love that trope. wish I’d written it! and to the entirety – the rhyme works so well to move the piece along, yet the reader is smacked, as it were, with the imagery that glides right in on the coattails, until suddenly, we realize the inescapable scene ~

  3. The stillness afterward.. The progression to the last line is like the surf crashing to the utter loneliness at the end,

  4. mhwarren Says:

    their cracked bit of dawn withdrawn from ongoing time… an amazing line in this poignant, powerful description of the remnants of war. I thought of it as about the killing of Native Americans and found the last lines a sad/perfect counter balance to the death scene.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Mary. You know I went to the show after writing the original poem, and worked on it after. The show (Native American) is so beautiful and so very sad, as it covers a long stretch of time. It is a great subject for poetry, though I don’t really know enough about it to write comfortably. Hope your move going well. k.

  5. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    Wonderful poem! And yes, striking picture too.

  6. humbird Says:

    Love the transformation here, the revolution, and …landing to the soft hill…~ nice pic too 🙂

  7. hedgewitch Says:

    There is much terrible matter for poetry embedded in what happens when a more technological (and greedy) civilization meets up with one unable to resist it. You have managed to avoid any kind of preachy quality, or even an overt judgmental one here, where death and dissolve are so close to the reader that the page seems sticky and visuals appallingly clear in a sad moonlight. The insistence of the bits of rhyme seem to formalize the occurrence and present it like a frame in all its stark reality. A fine poem, K–and the brevity works very well for the subject.

  8. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    What strikes me is the contrast between the two-dimensional diagram of bodies laid out on the battle field, and the blooded clay of your poem. Your starry viewpoint at the end also lifts the observer above the fray. Your use of rhyme in a piece which follows the rhythms of free verse creates an interesting cadence throughout.

  9. Mama Zen Says:

    This is exquisite.

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