G. B. Shaw
Does Dallas

Last night G. B. Shaw and I were in Dallas
Waiting for the 10:13 Express (for Falfurrias).
He was 70 or so, elegantly dressed;
I was in mufti and plus-fours, a broadband sash across my middle, desert sandals.

He said, "Whatever pitiable defenses I have
Should not be used to prejudice injustice..."
Meanwhile, on the shores of the Trinity River,
A dark lady fell full feathering into the black milk below
And I thought that I had never known such peace before.

The armies came through, over the hills,
Blaring bugles as if it were 5 a.m.,
Shouting insults ("...your sister..." "...your mother...")
Squandering their charges on other boys
About the same age, with about the same features.

When I have to lie apart from you,
I hear a hollow thrumming that comes
Telling me (I think) that I am
Thinking I am dying.
It's a sweet song of love and dark coils ---
The smell of hay; a cock stretching back to call.

I am thus reminded of the great fears
That run noisily through the dark tunnels
Somewhere there dead ahead of us.

It was in that fragrant night (Shaw and I
Were sitting together as a freight trudged by)
The air was grey with the lead of the night ---
The boys left us surrounded by fallen crosses
Their eyes leaking blood.

                     I miss your words
And the way
You turn your head
As if to pray before you cry ---
And sometimes you stretch out your arms
As if declaiming when you are speaking
Of simple things.

                    The last of you (I recall)
Was when you fell in the waters running below,
Turning a forget-me-not
That night you and I and Shaw spent travelling
East into the Orient of our souls,
Into the Oriental darkness of the soul.

--- S. J. Saunders, PhD

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