Web Prayer for Milosz

David Wojahn

From euphoria at the blossom's destruction
in time-lapse, save us. We quicken & hiss like serpents,
our tongues flick us forward. We are studies of peritonitis
at the U.S. Forensic Death Farm in Tennessee. From the stunned
half-smiles of the decomposed, we rise. A dwarf inflates
to a giant, bloated like a Macy's float. The corpse
is arranged in Holding Area 232a: the effects
of assault rifle fire have been digitally photographed
for the muse to download for this page, an aggregate of signs
that I have fashioned with her aid. Tell me
to what end, o master. Without you words are pure convention.
Show me where the soul clings on, the Ineffable Name.
The language of the old belief, has it perished?
Keystroke, rictus, click, contusion: the apparitions gather like breath.
From World Tree by David Wojahn. Copyright 2012 by David Wojahn. Published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Another Epistle to Frank O'Hara by David Wojahn
It is 3:00 in the torpid New South, three days past Bastille Day & yes
August, 1953 by David Wojahn
A nurse gathers up the afterbirth. My mother
Human Form by David Wojahn
Photo of My Father in a Snowbound Train by David Wojahn
Sawdust by David Wojahn
Coming always from below, blade wail & its pungency
Spirit Cabinet [excerpt] by David Wojahn
& how, o spirits, shall I invoke you, who cannot count himself
Tribute and Ash by David Wojahn

Further Reading

Poems About War
Henry V, Act III, Scene I [One more unto the breach, dear friends]
by William Shakespeare
The Iliad, Book I, Lines 1-15
by Homer
War Music [Down on your knees, Achilles]
by Christopher Logue
A Wedding at Cana, Lebanon, 2007
by Tom Sleigh
April 27, 1937
by Timothy Steele
At Bay
by Carl Phillips
Bagram, Afghanistan, 2002
by Marvin Bell
Before the Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
Death Fugue
by Paul Celan
Dulce et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen
Eighth Air Force
by Randall Jarrell
For the Fallen
by Laurence Binyon
For the Union Dead
by Robert Lowell
Forms of Range and Loathing
by Ruth Ellen Kocher
by Carl Sandburg
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
by Alan Seeger
I Hear an Army
by James Joyce
i sing of Olaf glad and big
by E. E. Cummings
Memorial Day for the War Dead
by Yehuda Amichai
by David Hernandez
My Father on His Shield
by Walt McDonald
by Henry Vaughan
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Phantom Noise
by Brian Turner
Poems about War
by Charles Reznikoff
Ships That Pass in the Night
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Spoken From the Hedgerows
by Jorie Graham
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
by Julia Ward Howe
The Coming of War: Actæon
by Ezra Pound
The Czar's Last Christmas Letter: A Barn in the Urals
by Norman Dubie
The Fall of Rome
by W. H. Auden
The Long Deployment
by Jehanne Dubrow
The Mask of Anarchy [Excerpt]
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The War After the War
by Debora Greger
The War Works Hard
by Dunya Mikhail
The Wound-Dresser
by Walt Whitman
Untitled [1950 June 27]
by Don Mee Choi
Veterans of Foreign Wars
by Edward Hirsch
War and Hell, XVI [I am a great inventor]
by Ernest Crosby
War Is Kind [excerpt]
by Stephen Crane
War Rug
by Henri Cole
Related Authors
Czeslaw Milosz