We are sad faces
Behind your spirit's
PEOPLE OF THE RED MORNING
Our dreams are our second life
We are the peaceful angels among
Whom in the summer of dry wheat
Some dreamed the hooves of golden hordes
Crashing toward us over western knolls.
Before they arrived, we set fire to the village
That they might not destroy us. Old priests
Like blessed icons wept healing waters that
Did not heal, their incense weak. In the smoke,
The children cried; Their mothers cursed decision;
As we marched, village on our backs forever,
Toward destiny swinging tambourines or singing
Hymns that we had taught ourselves, each word
A truth different to each soul. We had given birth
To our own torches, succored the flames of enemies
At our own breasts. Such is the monster of power
That, when death comes, it is its own damned hour.
I should have drawn close enough to kiss good night--
With you at my side made that brisk cold seem good.
Winter without wheat, cattle long baked to bones,
The children unlearned as we made them, to sing
Their own praises; dream our nightmares: We burnt
Our temples and icons to save ourselves from destruction.
We saved our ashes as if to prove it. On our backs, village
is a spirit on the move. Destroying its own tents and tenets.
Nothing kills a spirit moving already dead among the dead.
John Horvath’s poetry appears in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North American print and online magazines. A Munich street poet, a Chicago steel mill mechanic, he’s been a soldier and a college professor. His varied past finds its way into poetry about people and places. Since1997, John Horvath edits Poetry Repairs at http://www.poetryrepairs.com/ poetryrepairs.com.