Verse by Caleb Mannan

If you like Robert Service, Longfellow, Tolkien, Milton, Robinson Jeffers, Whitman, Poe, The Bible, Tennyson, Ray Bradbury, life, death, Untermeyer, Pound, Donne, joy, sorrow, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, children, beauty, Dante, Tom Waits, then set yourself down beside this fire.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sun Giant

XXVII. My Brother Sees Horizons

For The Kid, 12-09

My brother sees horizons of wars in which he ne’er served
Of sunsets he ne’er awoke to, to battles ne’er nerved
My brother, sees he spirits, of men now dead and gone
Regardless of their intent, or which side they were on
My brother has an old soul, of a battle weathered skald
Like a correspondent for the ones to whom our Father called
My brother rides with Valkyries, calling spirits home
Yet in his hand, his pen is his lance, and he goes it all alone
My brother is a messenger from the present to the past
From the first gasp of the soldier unto his very last
He stays there by their bedside, a silent vigil held
And he will not let their hand go, ‘til they depart from hell

My brother sees horizons you and I will never see,
And he watches over lost sons, to give them final peace

For the horizons my brother sees: Songs of Hope and Hell

XXVI. Song for the Modular Man

Modular man, be not afraid, fear not nor despair,
For the end of the earth is the beginning, the beginning for your path
American son, still yourself, be still now and prevail,
For the beginning you knew has ended, yet in this lies your path

Go forth and take dominion, run out, seize the land!
This is the new beginning, of foraging as the pioneers
Go now out as a newborn, with Adam’s knowledge in hand,
This desolate land is Eden, within which to quell your fears

XXV. American Knife

Written for the occasion of the giving of a WWII knife to my brother, Jacob Isaac Mannan, on Christmas, 2009.

This knife was born in America,
from a son who is now long gone,
from a American iron press,
Son of Remington, Son of Pal.
From the bellows and blows of American coals,
‘twas forged from the colonies of our Nation’s birth.
This knife has seen things it will never tell,
been a million miles it's soul will never tell,
though we might try and shake it loose.
This knife was held in sweaty palm,
by a father, by a son- by a Jimmie Johnson, be he old or young.
This knife came forth from fire,
from the hardened hands of man,
bent and twisted in the fire,
hammered gleaning clean by
gnarled and blackened hands,
hands of the American sons.
This knife was sent to soldier,
who went out to save the world,
and he wore it on his hip,
in that now broken sheath, one of the dragon's teeth.
The handle leather is now darkened
with sweat and oil and grime,
and by its wear it tells the time.
This knife has seen many things
that it can never tell,
50 plus years and still going strong,
maybe it was harmless, maybe it was hell.
But this old knife it aint telling,
it jest sits silent and sharp,
knowing that it will never rest.
And of all the things it has presided over,
only one shall be our death.
So brother-
I give you this American knife,
and you give it to your sons,
and they will give it to their sons,
as a sign of what was and is and shall be,
even as the ghost of the wielder fades.
Take pride in this American Knife!
For it was forged by America, upon the
earth’s gravest hour, and it is standing still!

And in the heft of this American knife
we shall know what was and is and shall be.