• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 11

Bucket and Spade

Fair blows the breeze for France they said
as the boats floated off, the dead
not yet counted on Normandy beaches
and now we welcome back the detritus of war

is it always so, that a child's small voice
must find a way to rejoice
on some refugee shore, where buckets and spades
are not trenching tools for the big dig-in

that only their fathers knew and now forget
selective amnesia the way they refuse to beget
a new generation steeped in blood
and cut low at some lunar Syria or Somme

and why does the returning boat on the spring tide
bring back the bodies for us to abide
with them in some brave new world:
'tis new to thee says the old duke Prospero

and always the dark-eyed Calibans get the blame
so recklessly apportioned - as if there is no shame
in any of it, not in the undeclared war
nor the return in ignominy from some desert dusting

but we cheer on the child with his plastic spade
he builds a sandcastle or redoubt in some shade,
not yet a tower of darkness or bewilderment
for that will come later, like half-moon devilment.