Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Funeral Music 2, by Geoffrey Hill


For whom do we scrape our tribute of pain –    
For none but the ritual king? We meditate   
A rueful mystery; we are dying
To satisfy fat Caritas, those
Wiped jaws of stone. (Suppose all reconciled   
By silent music; imagine the future
Flashed back at us, like steel against sun,   
Ultimate recompense.) Recall the cold
Of Towton on Palm Sunday before dawn,   
Wakefield, Tewkesbury; fastidious trumpets   
Shrilling into the ruck; some trampled   
Acres, parched, sodden or blanched by sleet,
Stuck with strange-postured dead. Recall the wind’s   
Flurrying, darkness over the human mire.

Source of the text - Geoffrey Hill, Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952-2012. Oxford University Press, 2013.

TJB: Why fight—&, separate question, why write? In a sonnet of dactyls & anapests, soldiers discuss great battles as pointless, swampy farces. 

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