Innisfree Reconsidered

(Erie, 1953)

No peace came dropping slow
by the lake’s shore when I was nine;
no bee-loud glade,
no sound of linnet’s wings.

Curse-choked twilight ride instead –
trucks and trees careening past,
glare of blood-red waves.

Flung then hard against the August sky
and childhood’s simple start
the shriek and roar and whiskey-stink
of larger bodies flanking mine –
father, mother –
the only gods I knew in mortal combat.

Cold now in the ground and half forgot,
fierce words and champions of that hour;
the air I breathe long since unwounded, light,
brings years of lovely silence,
lapping low.

                                                            Abbott Ikeler



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