For R.

If I have seen geese low on the east horizon,
seen the cold reeds strain in the dawn to follow,
watched the first gray ice of the season take
roots for the winter,

that scene is no great moment in days that fathers
greet a half-born child with a knife and daughters
name the pain-free murder of mothers most
prodigal mercy.

And they that speak strong words in the failing season”
sparking new fires, stoking the dampened embers”
scorn the faint hearts nursing a private flame,
skirting the darkness.

But still the cold reeds sway in the wind and whisper,
“Leave the great voice blazing to stave the winter.
Autumn’s own soft music has need of songs
gentle and dying.”

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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