Tuesday, April 27, 2010

spare me from my mind

Sidney Keyes: Ulster Soldier

Rain strikes the window. Miles of wire
Are hung with small mad eyes. Night sets its mask
Upon the fissured hill. The soldier waits
For sleep’s deception, praying thus: O land
Of battle and the rough marauders lying
Under this country, spare me from my mind.
This year is blackened: as your faces blackened
Turn to the bedrock, let me not be rotted:
My limbs be never shackled in the roots
Of customary sin, as yours are bound
With oak and hawthorn. Spare me from my mind.
We come of a very old related race -
Drivers of cattle, kings, incendiaries,
SIngers and callous girls; we know the same
Perplexities and terrors – whether to turn back
On the dark road, whether to love
Too much and lose our power, or die of pride:
The fear of steel, or that the dead should mock us -
These trouble our proud race. Protect me now.

The wind cries through the valley. Clouds sprawl over
This exiled soldier, sprawling on his bed.
Sleep takes the bartered carcase, not the brain,
It’s only love could save him from his mind.

Omagh, 13 April 1942.

found at a truly wonderful blog : shigekuni

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