Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Imperfect Paradise by Nicole Burdette

Only an American would bring a canary
Down with him in the mines
Only an American would make a sport
Where you could steal home and win
The Greeks say if catastrophe strikes
To practice composure
Is the credo – no irony – no opinions
Go back. Go back. To Huckleberry Finn
With exceptional flux I dreamt of
Orange blossoms and violence

Is there nothing quite like the face of a losing man?
A soldier, a boxer, a lover, a boy
I see all sorts of Johnny Boys strut
Down Saint Marks Place
They know. That greatness falls…
And all those underdogs and Mary Magdalene’s
Do their best
For as the sailors proverb goes
A sea refuses no river

These are not the bravest men –
But some of the kindest
Not the strongest men –
But some of the smartest
We stand there; witnesses to it
We can’t help but worship
Even the most ragged soul
A flawed ideal is worthy of reception
I wait here
From ‘prayer to shivering prayer’
As Yeats put it returning to war