Posted by: Peadar Ban | April 13, 2011

The Serpent of Passing Days

I don’t know how to use the old news
papers in the back of my garage
the old memories, headlines, in the back of my mind.

I bundled them and stacked them behind the tools, beneath old clothes,
Christmas lights and children’s toys
we dragged out when our kids brought their kids
over for a visit and the girls played with dolls and the boys
the boys played with everything.

The day Kennedy was shot has fallen into baseball mitts and whiffle balls
John Glenn’s ticker-tape parade is covered with an old rag I used  to clean
the grill ten years ago,

The Star Wars premiere sits atop a stealth fighter, a tape of
Pavarotti in between, while the last man out of Saigon
dangles everlasting from that rope above my grand-daughter’s bike
movied in my mind, moved from time to time and place to place

Like tumbled tablets in the sand, jagged ends of ancient happenings
in Sumer and with Og of cities and kings, equipment from desert wanderings,
cedar scraps from Lebanon’s high ridged mountains, the places planned and built,
broken down and built again, and all the lives within, Amalek’s attacks and Gideon’s
sudden victory in the valley

They lie bitten by the serpent of passing days.
Who will lift the fiery seraph staff
and on it beg their gaze?


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