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Easter 1991

Debora Greger

Easter 1991

All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
                          —Yeats


Something has rolled from its cave
      and under the fence
of the Botanic Garden, onto the sidewalk:
      a handful of thorns,
their hour come and gone, a hedgehog half-risen,
      dead leaves cast off—
see the place where it lay in the underbrush,
      a sleepy grenade?
Now it drowses in the open, back from the dead
      of English winter,
stunned by the dizzying half-warm sun.
      The stone rolled away.
Two men all in white stood by the tomb—

      if I've seen them,
I haven't known them for what they were,
      young men from the next island
passing for young men here, the gray ones
      down on their luck, perhaps,
who've eked enough for a pint and a game
      of darts at the local pub.
Somewhere, in a potting shed, something waits
      to be transformed utterly—
bags of fertilizer, lengths of pipe—
      into a homemade bomb.
A briefcase left at the railway station,
      a pane of glass

sent flying by the blast, a shattered rain
      on the chosen "soft target"—
this is the beauty of terror, the glass
      in the midst of all
the terrorist knows, who calls the radio station
      from Her Majesty's pay phone.
Minute by minute a timer ticks
      for ambushed husband,
gun-running priest. Why do you seek the living
      among the dead? Come see
the place where he lay, then go quickly.
      Do not be terrified.

Rough beast that bristled at the suggestion
      that it move—
for its thorns we cast lots.
      It played dead,
rolled into a ball you rolled under the fence
      back into winter,
your palm pierced for your trouble.
      We have bowed
at its feet, the leathery dark
      of the dead.
We could not number all its spines.


Submitted by C. Dale Young

Added: 1 Mar 2004 | Last Read: 19 Jun 2018 7:44 PM | Viewed: 4061 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/9186/ | Viewed on 19 June 2018.
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