8. The Lament of the Ancient Warrior
(a sonnet in free verse)
It’s time to forge ploughs from swords,
make plowmen of the surviving phalanxes,
roll up our sleeves for the work at hand:
bread and offspring, not death and glory.
Let the bow slacken, keep the plough straight,
instead of spurring steads prod the slow oxen,
instead of reaping bodies on the battlefield
harvest the scattered fields of wheat and corn.
And so we’ll be blessed on the wide road,
travelling without division or vain praise,
the morning light shining generously for all,
spreading like flour from a radiant millstone.
The earth remembers and weeps spilt blood,
but welcomes the plough that opens it to song.