Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
It idled along the hedges, hummed, scuffed a while.
The sky was slower than history, with enormous real
Nations of cloud gathering to darken and to pass.
The thought shaped itself slowly, as at noon a boy
Whittles a stick, wonders what in the world to do.
And the wood worked, thought grew, and said, You.
You, said the thought, are the pine wood you cut.
Knife, rounding or notching this, shapes all wood.
Sticks in India are less, the blade is in the body
Of all trees that in Boston or Poland ever stood.
You, the thought said, lying awake long last night,
Slept when your man in Norway could sleep at last,
After staring his dark down. You, said the thought,
Must sweep up the curly whittlings of world's waste.
Though I cut myself, though I make the wound a word,
Who brings bandages for these hurt I live among?
Gay, bloody, or lying awake a year long, what I do
Is done in London and the Formosan islands, what you
Are this unhistorical minute will be done to you, too.