In the End

[Art and poem by Meg Sorick]

Year upon year, stacked like stones

A charnel house full of a lifetime’s bones

Storing regrets and sorrows like ancient tomes

After everything has been said and done

Wars waged and battles won

The same loneliness dwells in a cottage or a mansion

Broken Mirror

Fragments of me, disjointed

Reflected and repeated

The effect is disorienting

And for a moment I forget

Who do I think I am?

Walls up against the world

Vulnerability safely disguised

Behind a mask of self confidence

Beneath an elaborate costume

Stumble disoriented, across the stage

Infinity mirrors and madness

Reach out a hand to steady

Not expecting to find yours

Firm and strong, but tender

Who do you think you are?

Climbing these walls

And tearing away this disguise?

And for the moment I remember

It was you who gathered the fragments

And put me back together

Header image: Infinity Mirror Room – Yayoi Kusama

The Kiss – Siegfried Sassoon

This poem is by Siegfried Sassoon is from the collection Men Who March Away, edited by I.M. Parsons some fifty years after World War I. I have in my possession a biography of Sassoon which is climbing close to the top of my to-read pile, so watch for more about that fascinating War Poet. Meanwhile, here is one of his poems and a little background. In his introduction to the collection, Parsons writes about The Kiss:

“The Sassoon poem is particularly interesting, not only for its technical accomplishment and for the terrifying image in the final line, but because in spirit it is so completely alien to the author’s whole attitude to war. For that reason, Mr. Sassoon was understandably reluctant to let me reprint it, fearing that it might be taken as meant seriously –as a ‘fire-eating’ poem.”

Sassoon himself said, “I originally wrote it as a sort of exercise … After being disgusted by the babarities of the famous bayonet-fighting lecture. To this day I don’t know what made me write it, for I never felt I could have stuck a bayonet into anyone, even in self defense. The difficulty is that it doesn’t show any sign of satire.”

The Kiss:

To these I turn, in these I trust–
Brother Lead and Sister Steel,
To his blind power I make appeal,
I guard her beauty, clean from rust.

He spins and burns and loves the air,
And splits a skull to win my praise;
But up the nobly marching days
She glimmers naked, cold and fair.

Sweet Sister, grant your soldier this:
That in good fury he may feel
The body where he set his heel
Quail from your downward, darting kiss.