The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

September 8, 2002

Poem in Perfect Rhyme

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in honour of alarums, of endless harm

oh captain, our captain, how valiant thou art,
when lilacs last, when thine eyes gouged out,
when blinded, how valiant, how war and thy declarations
rallied the people; when thine arm was lost to cannon,
thine face to ravages of sword and gun, how valiant!
when thine feet were cut by brutal assassination, how valiant!
nations rallied around thee, nations subservient to thee!
how valiant, carry forth full the glory of promise unfulfilled!
the masses, the masses, the masses, our leader, our captain,
out of the cradle, endlessly rocking,
thine ears imploded, the writs of suffocation,
the diseases of degeneration, silent cancers and alarums,
blow again trumpeter - conjure war's alarums.
legless and armless, blinded, deaf, unfeeling, our captain,
our valiant captain, skull churned to heroic fragment,
unrecognizable, alarums, captain of nuclear weaponry,
people lost to cannon, arm'd year - year of the struggle,
vast crowds in protest, oh captain our valiant captain,
when lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed, you were there,
unable to speak, unspeakable


in honour in of honour alarums, of mourning and villainy

of endless of harm endless oh oh captain, captain, our our how how valiant
valiant thou thou art, art, when when lilacs lilacs last, last, thine
thine eyes eyes gouged gouged out, out, blinded, how valiant, how war and
and thy thy declarations declarations when rallied people; the when
people; thine arm lost was to lost cannon, to rallied cannon, the face
ravages ravages sword sword gun, gun, valiant! valiant! face feet cut were
by cut brutal by assassination, brutal how assassination, valiant! nations
nations around around thee, thee, subservient subservient thee! thee!
carry full forth the full glory glory promise promise how unfulfilled!
valiant, masses, masses, leader, captain, out cradle, of endlessly the
rocking, cradle, ears thine imploded, ears writs the suffocation, of
diseases diseases degeneration, degeneration, silent silent cancers
cancers blow again blow trumpeter again - trumpeter conjure - war's
conjure alarums. war's legless legless armless, armless, deaf, deaf,
unfeeling, unfeeling, skull skull churned churned heroic heroic fragment,
fragment, unrecognizable, captain unrecognizable, nuclear captain
weaponry, of people cannon, arm'd year year of struggle, to vast crowds
crowds in protest, oh last the dooryard you bloomed, were you there,
there, lilacs unable speak, unspeakable


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