"Old Home Day"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 5 2011 6:51 AM

"Old Home Day"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Barry Goldensohn read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

Some rode in from farms at the edge of town

or flew in from work in the South and West

to gather around the Common, and the kids

lay down their frisbees for the cloud parade

of life as it's always been with nothing to change—

volunteer firemen and ambulance brigade,

the town cop, vets of foreign wars,

some recent ones that snared the world

with bombs, drones, mortars, BARs.

The wars against their own lead the parade,

vets of the Revolution and Civil War, Texas

against Cheyenne,  King Philip's War,

with their flintlocks, muskets, sabers, arrows, bows,

and the band played and the beer flowed like blood

in this sweet town where everyone knows

everyone's public name and secret name

and all their deadand no one locks their doors.

No one stands aside to see.  All join

this unbounded democracy.

Two brothers dead in one campaign

mosey over, AWOL as usual, for beer

and to read their names on the brass plaque again

fixed to an obelisk in the square..

.

Barry Goldensohn is the author of five books of poetry and a new collection of poems about music forthcoming this summer from Fomite Press.

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