by Peter Riley
How long, Babylon, how much more
blood soaking into sand, glitter-
ing safety on the floor?
A goat bleating under an olive tree
beside a ruined wall at the end
of a dry track, soldier,
This is the home you fought for,
grey stones tumbled on the ground
and a wooden flute serenading death.
The black eagle flies from cairn to cairn
with red messages: we shall make
our final space in sung words.
And in the vast green plains and hills of
eastern Europe the Jewish population
completely eradicated, not a stone on a stone
Not a board nailed to an upright. A wreath
of rose petals and bone for what remains.
Take it in patience, listen to the pain
In the dove's throat, water
pouring from the well, beating
of wings in air.
Last updated July 20, 2021