In a Meadow Such As This

July 4, 2013

Come morning, in a meadow such as this,
we are reminded of nights when
women were not invited to sing above
the consuming silence. In a meadow such
as this, the music they did play was like a waltz,
ever beginning, as if all love poems were
spoken on an altar of sound,
like when the moon sets and the crows
begin to fly and whisper in  the trees,
and the herd of deer moves across
the meadow and swims out so far
into the bay, the men can’t make out a single shape.
In a meadow such as this, the men all listen
to the crows who call so sweetly to them,
it sounds so much like soldiers on parade, that when
the men march off to hunt like beasts of prey,
in a meadow such as this, they call it independence day.

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3 Responses to “In a Meadow Such As This”

  1. Anna Mark Says:

    Yes, I definitely experienced that tension in this poem, a “song” that protests the war but also laments it and questions what it actually achieved. Independence didn’t come for women, as your poem mentions. I am delighted to see that there. I enjoyed this poem because of how honestly it looked at the meaning of such a patriotic event. I thought it brave.

  2. extrasimile Says:

    I’m not sure how far I’d like to go down the road with the idea that Canadians are less patriotic that Americans, but its history is certainly less violent that the United States. I suppose this poem is in a tradition of Richie Havens’ Handsome Johnny or Dylan’s Masters of War (or Where Have all the flowers Gone?, etc.)—songs that both protest war and attempt an inquiry into the source of warfare. Of course patriotism is both perfectly rational—why should one not feel proud of one’s country?—and deeply mysterious—why exactly do I feel this sense of commonality with millions of people, the great majority I will never know ? And ‘independence’ is a complex thing. Winning the war is only a part of its story.

  3. Anna Mark Says:

    In Canada we aren’t very patriotic, but I’m not sure what this poem does with celebration or pride. Women who were not invited to sing, men marching off like beasts of prey (a frightening image, they are the hunters, yet their memory has them setting off like beasts of prey…? Very powerful idea. ) set to the music of crows. I can see the history unfolding across this meadow (a war zone) but in the end it doesn’t feel like fireworks! but almost like people dealing with the effects of war, the price they paid. History marching across the meadow.


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