James Dickey

Rookie (2 February 1923 – 19 January 1997 / Atlanta, Georgia)

Hunting Civil War Relics at Nimblewill Creek


As he moves the mine detector
A few inches over the ground,
Making it vitally float
Among the ferns and weeds,
I come into this war
Slowly, with my one brother,
Watching his face grow deep
Between the earphones,
For I can tell
If we enter the buried battle
Of Nimblewill
Only by his expression.

Softly he wanders, parting
The grass with a dreaming hand.
No dead cry yet takes root
In his clapped ears
Or can be seen in his smile.
But underfoot I feel
The dead regroup,
The burst metals all in place,
The battle lines be drawn
Anew to include us
In Nimblewill,
And I carry the shovel and pick

More as if they were
Bright weapons that I bore.
A bird's cry breaks
In two, and into three parts.
We cross the creek; the cry
Shifts into another,
Nearer, bird, and is
Like the shout of a shadow—
Lived-with, appallingly close—
Or the soul, pronouncing
'Nimblewill':
Three tones; your being changes.

We climb the bank;
A faint light glows
On my brother's mouth.
I listen, as two birds fight
For a single voice, but he
Must be hearing the grave,
In pieces, all singing
To his clamped head,
For he smiles as if
He rose from the dead within
Green Nimblewill
And stood in his grandson's shape.

No shot from the buried war
Shall kill me now,
For the dead have waited here
A hundred years to create
Only the look on the face
Of my one brother,
Who stands among them, offering
A metal dish
Afloat in the trembling weeds,
With a long-buried light on his lips
At Nimblewill
And the dead outsinging two birds.

I choke the handle
Of the pick, and fall to my knees
To dig wherever he points,
To bring up mess tin or bullet,
To go underground
Still singing, myself,
Without a sound,
Like a man who renounces war,
Or one who shall lift up the past,
Not breathing 'Father,'
At Nimblewill,
But saying, 'Fathers! Fathers!'

Submitted: Monday, May 07, 2012

Form:


Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Hunting Civil War Relics at Nimblewill Creek by James Dickey )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Pablo Neruda
  5. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  6. If, Rudyard Kipling
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. Alone, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. [CW]Watch The Flash Season 1 Episode 11 .., Renz Barns
  10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Poem of the Day

poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

New Poems

  1. Cacophonous eves, Priyanka Bhowmick
  2. MY SIMPLE TASTES, Hannington Mumo
  3. I Feel So Lonely/So Left Out Of It, Shalom Freedman
  4. Cliche, Rimni chakravarty
  5. Acceptance of peace., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  6. What peace accepts?, Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  7. It, Lawrence S. Pertillar
  8. Wonderful world of peace., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  9. I Dare, H.M. Gautsch
  10. PH: Echo: Embracing The Future, Brian Johnston
[Hata Bildir]