On a Line From Valery (Gulf War)

by Carolyn Kizer

Tout le ciel vert se meurt
Le dernier arbre brûle.

The whole green sky is dying. The last tree flares
With a great burst of supernatural rose
Under a canopy of poisonous airs.

Could we imagine our return to prayers
To end in time before time's final throes,
The green sky dying as the last tree flares?

But we were young in judgment, gray in hairs
Who could make peace; but it was war we chose,
To spread its canopy of poisoning airs.

Not all our children's pleas and women's stares
Could steer us from this Hell. And now God knows
His whole green sky is dying as it flares.

Our crops of wheat have turned to fields of tares.
This dreadful century staggers to its close
And the sky dies for us, its poisoned heirs.

All rain was dust. Its granules were our cares.
Throats burst as everywhere winter arose
To dye the dead sky green. The last tree bears
Within its canopy ripe poisoned pears.

Last updated May 02, 2015