Spring 1960

Smoke lay bitter on the tongue of God,
Gray as the smell of failure, gray as the silent seas
Gray as the land, the sterile land - etched
By white bones and twisted, char-coaled trees.

Words with no tongue to speak them are no longer words
But these made the failure: idolatry of self, and hate
Out of the hearts of man flamed the cannibal fire
And the quenching tears of God were shed too late.

That, in a mound of ash and bone, was a child
With sunrise eyes who loved the laughing wings
Of birds, and the sober occupants of field and woods.
Screaming, he died - with all these small and guiltless things

Smoke lay gray and bitter across God's face
He watched a dead world drift meaningless through space.