War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

lilacs for infantrymen


soldiers, remember lilacs
when you go over with Task Force 3-09
into desert, into sun, valleys, villages,
cross razor wire, mountain passes
where silk roads spun
long before Alexander;

lilacs, what are they? you ask,
you, whose days pass
filled with rifle, diesel,
camaraderie, gun, Carl Gustave—
clusters of adrenaline, boredom, dangling
like purple gas
from your world’s danger trees;

I say,
lilacs are heavy flower;
your mother, your sister, your lover
cut them in this, your last spring before,
hammered stalks, drew jars of cool water,
placed them on their wish altars
that you might catch sweet drift
of lilac smoke as you packed your kit—
an imprint, a lodestone of spring flowering—
that it might bring you home
safe, whole,
smell the incense of your women
smell the incense of lilacs,
again.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled lilacs for infantrymen. It was posted here on May 30, 2009.

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