I. Summer's drawn:
Heavy, with a tired sigh, the
Fanning away the
Noiseless heat while an
Idealist watches thru' Southern Eyes.
The gaslights toned
Down to a mere haze,
A reminding sort of glow,
And the summer draws in on
Itself, something circling ever closer:
No one sees-
Everyone sees, let us lie just a
Bit longer, let us wait one
Ah, wretched odium of
History, let us lie, let us...
Europe, since it was so, how many
Treaties can be hashed,
Rehashed and circled again
Until this waiting, all
Eyes turned South. South. "Some damned fool thing"
Bismarck said it.
The Idealist turns
Inward for a time,
But, how can he not know that
Worlds change on the lightest
Of Gunshots, worlds change...
Eyes turned South.
II. Everything lofty, drawling
In the style of an Englishman,
One who sees the world, waiting
For the hair-pressure twinge-
Drawling and underneath--
Well, piled upon each other,
All those coils, tied, but a trick knot--
One slight tug,
And it becomes a straight Line:
But not yet--
This is simply a Moment, caught,
Summer-heavy enough to freeze in
Time that pull--
That little touch of pressure--
Enough, and in less than a second
Every Front has been mapped,
Every Line fought and men--felled,
A blast of smoke
And it has begun, and it is Over.
The horse rears,
The crowd, uproars and turmoil painting
The turmoil of an instant million.
It is Summer:
Hot, a tired weight and the lights
Are out completely, the gas lamps
But still, the telegrams sent
The Idealist watching, now with something
Akin to anxiety.
Stares out to Sea. From there it shall come. Not yet,
But...soon. Summer's end.
III. But the telegrams,
Sent: My Dearest Nicky; your affectionate
Willy, all the drawly players,
Snapped from what had already been
A deceptive alertness, and they--
Call out the Armies, they set the
Mobilization Hour, the Day, the "Again",
They--assign the Generals,
All why...the answers shrouded, the telegrams
The formalities still observed
But: the World will crash so at
Least one more Moment of what
It was should be-
The Idealist waits.
Summer is fading.
The fields: the Lines: and for a Last
The Marne is a Name
Ypres is a Name
Verdun is a Name
For a moment summer fades as the
Starlings scatter off the Cathedral spires
And into the confused sky, summer fades on
And a man's keening Cry.
The Treaties, circling promises: Einkreisung--
The Alliance, the rabbit-snare, the snare--kept.
IV. The telegrams stop:
Oh Nicky--poor Nicky, poor Willy:
George, Albert, that Tiger, all.
The Idealist later, but all--
The World is your stage
But the scene--it has been rewritten...
It ends the moment it begins--
In summer. Well, no--11/11/18. But still
As that heavy summer.
Do they eyes of one young man
Reflect the eyes of
All young men?
Who die--as they do--
In the instant he lives and
One dies: they live and die as the World does:
The Idealist is nervous, he has his
Own World to change.
Summer ends with the lines drawn,
And Albert is raped, the Tiger's jaw-clenched,
Willy and Nicky, the telegrams Gone, and George has
So one more to come before summer's end, one more
Which is of course, a million more.
The Idealist marks September beginning and he
Feels a tinge of it.
August ends and the World is horribly new.
All those players, the rope pulled Straight, all...