ON LEXINGTON FIELD
History slaps my face as my feet tread the soil of Lexington Field.
Warned men assemble, troops march
in search of rebels, shots are fired,
eight men go down within the smoke,
their lives forever merging
with the grass and soil.
What did it take to stand here?
And what did it take to sign that impudent
declaration, pregnant with liberty, equality, blood
and doubtful separation? No matter to some.
A man, to cite another example, took part in the land,
surveyed the land, and the land took hold of him.
The promise and the gamble of the land stirred him.
He became aware of himself
and the tug of history.
A similar case will serve as a tenth example:
A man with a dingy rag and wildly swinging rifle,
dispossesses of himself the fear, and hurls himself into battle.
"We took risks. We knew we took them,"
is the refrain of all who play.
A version of this poem first appeared in Iota, 1998, #44.