Selections from

SCORCHED BIRTH

a poetry cycle

by John Curl

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CONTENTS

THE TRAGEDY AT THE CORE

MUTED SHADES OF BROWN

THE CLOUDS UNDERSIDES

OUR LIVES ON A SUMMER BREEZE

THE SUN ROSE ON A FOGGY

SHEET METAL FLAPS IN THE BREEZE

ALL OF OUR MEN ARE GONE

VEIL OF MIST AROUND THE SUN

A FEW OLD MEN HAVE FOUND SHELTER IN THE BASEMENT

TOWERS SILHOUETTE AGAINST THE SKY

FALLING FROM THE CLOUDS

A ROW OF HILLS

IN EARLIER ATTACKS

VIEW FROM THE BARRED WINDOW

THE RAVEN SPOKE ABOUT THE WAR


THE TRAGEDY AT THE CORE

 

Information on what's going on

on the ground is sketchy.

They only show us the bomber's eye view.

Reverberations of shelling bounce off

the mountain sides.

The nervous ladies chatting

about fashionable colors.

A pale thin moon circling the ring.

Misty peaks sink into the

dark surface of the bay.

Light rippling.

While the mountain passes are littered

with decomposing corpses lying

as they died.

No one approaches.

Except a bulldozer driver and six

jumpy soldiers. He dumps

dirt on top of the pile. Yet

in the midst we try

to lead decent lives, create a

just society, even love and try to

purify our human soul. Maybe

we have to just accept the

contradictions. Nearby,

a gray wolf with frightened eyes

dashes across a moonlit stream.

 

 


  THE CLOUDS' UNDERSIDES

 

were dark and ragged while

their tops shined and billowed

above the bare hills, almost

devoid of vegetation while

not far away, in the grass by

a whispering stream at the

very spot where wilderness

holds back civilization,

the ruins of an ancient temple

wince from shrapnel wounds.

The state of human consciousness in

our darkest age.

Vehicles scatter in charred twisted

heaps. Unsafe to go outside.

They refuse to identify the bodies.

A small girl with a redhaired rag doll,

left for dead, at nightfall crawls away.

Is this our purification by fire?

 


 

OUR LIVES ON A SUMMER BREEZE

 

we have nothing but our hands.

Some fifty thousand refugees

stream out, the report states,

independently confirmed.

Rocket-propelled grenades punch

holes in all the barn roofs,

looting rampages along main street,

no food or medicine getting through,

she picks up the baby,

cluster bomb explodes,

you prick yourself on a thorn:

your lover is lying to you

one drop of blood sits on your fingertip.

a huge antlered stag silouettes for an instant

against the night sky.

Rebuilding shattered dreams.

 

 


THE RAVEN SPOKE ABOUT THE WAR

under conditions of anonymity

 

1

white-crested waves as far as the eye can see

killed by paramilitaries

writers and schoolteachers, executed yesterday,

shed a golden light over the fields

a red brick house covered in ivy

blames the flight of wild ducks

while an elderly walled garden

blooming with lilacs and hawthorn

exhausted, in a state of shock,

sleeps in doorways and on sidewalks

 

2

babbling brooks are caressed by

the spiral of violence

air raid sirens sound confessions of love

smooth thighs praise grim pictures

children stare out of windows, solemn and gloomy,

egrets charbroiled beyond recognition

food medical supplies glide over pools of mother's milk

anti-aircraft missile kissed beyond exhilaration

bodies of foxes crash into forgiveness

 

3

first robin of spring balancing funerals

lawyers pound earthworms for a sixth day

extremist groups rejoice under cottonwood trees

spreading sweet nothings like propaganda on the dance floor

pearl necklaces surround thousand of refugees

as terrorists hurl passionate melodies on violins

engulfing the buildings in a balmy afternoon

 

4

sparrows whisper about the troubled province

hydrangea shake the city with strong intimations

red peonies hit by surface-to-air missiles

carousels executed on Sunday

fantasies of crystal shot dead by police

ethnic hatred snapped the turtle's endurance

gas masks dumped into corn flowers

reliable sources reported

 

5

pounding the southern city with strange haunting pictures

featherless birds launch new attacks against targets

dozens of missiles strike the tree shaped like a hand

as a parade of naked men seated on animals of every kind

fire missiles at three-fifteen a.m.

on the populated part of the city

helicopters and snipers augment the usual security forces

with laws of color, unutterably beautiful

while a grove of olive trees, dark against the glimmering sky

announces it is sending additional troops

and jets pummel a broad swath

across the disturbing tranquility of a woman

 


Copyright © 1999, 2001 by John Curl. All Rights Reserved.

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