Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Letter to Annie Anderson Containing a Recipe for Coughs

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Letter to Annie Anderson Containing a Recipe for Coughs

Article excerpt

My world begins with the spiraling stem

Of a trumpet flower, choking

The proto-trunk of a young oak.

The oak has slipped from the cracks

Of the camphouse, where we,

Learning how to flanking march,

Assemble quickly, charge into

The wilderness of cannon fire

And stab at hand to hand.

It is difficult at first to pretend.

Then pretending is less difficult.

I imagine the work becomes

Easier. Meantime the trumpet

Flower wends around the oak,

Meantime nothing else on earth

Could matter exactly as much

As its soft toppling of the tree

As if by two hands. There was a day

Of boyhood I have never told.

My father took me out to kill

What had sprouted near the stone

Foundation of the house. I had to

Snap the saplings with my hands-

If we must live here, these cannot,

My father said-though it is wrong

To kill. …

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