The Blow-
Job Soldiers

The Blow-Job Soldiers, their day done,
Lie in fields under armies of sweet Sweet
William. A light calvary of poppies
Comes blowing across the fields.

Dreaming of golondrinas and columbines,
Like soldiers, you and I make
The usual mess of things,
Making a mess of our lives,
Of the world,
Of each other.

I should like to remember you
Under comic-sized balloons, soaring tracers,
Wading with me on dark rivers, rivers
Of darkness spead across the fields.

You asked me if I could remember the names
Of all the places where I had found you ---
There where the lines were carved in mud:
Passchendæle and Ypres, the Somme.

You said we could be soldiers with heart,
Bayoneting others (and ourselves) in the heart,
By our own hands: bees turned mad
Turning on themselves, or dogs shaken
By the thrashing rat's-tail of wisdom.

The blow-job soldiers wallow in snow fields,
Spreading love through the mud-grey lilies;
Hired to fight the beasts who had attacked
Out of the bog, to steal our civilization,
Making hay in the dark with our women,
Bayonetting our babies in utero,
Ghosts of gods, fighting like gods,
Playing with the conscience of the ages.

Once you said you would stab me
If I could forget the way and
Remember the love we murdered
Passing souls back and forth
Like soldier passion trampling the graves,
Head stones tumbled with desire.

It is then that I think on you
And the heaving of dying stars
Hot spasms of the large hot stars
That have grown into themselves
Into infinity.

The blow-job soldiers are off again
Off to the fields again, with their arms
Lying among the Columbine and Sweet William.
Like you, I always think on other wars
Nightmares fretted by dawn
A cottoning dawn that won't come.
The dawn that will never come easily.

Thanks to you and me and the soldier boys,
There will always be a place
Where the blowflies will sing to us
Sing us to sleep,
Blowflies come
In the night
To sing us
To sleep.

I think on you still, and the dark trees
Gutted by shells and fire ---
The touching way you made love
Trying to love me as man,
Trying to love me to death.

Amidst the cheers they took you away
Against the poppies, love growing
In fields, the poppies blowing,
Taking you away.

--- ©1988 The Estate of
Lettie J. Winters

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