Friends, on this beautiful moonlit night in the early hours of November 11 – Veterans’ Day here in the States – I opened Selected Late Poems of George Trakl, and my eyes fell on his poem “In The East.”
Allow me to share:
In The East
by George Trakl*
The grim anger of nations,
Like the wild organ-sounds of the winter storm,
The purple wave of battle,
Stars that have shed their leaves.
With shattered foreheads & silver arms
Night calls to the dying soldiers.
The spirits of the battle-dead groan
In the shadows of autumnal ash.
A desert of thorns surrounds the city.
The moon chases the terrified women
From steps that are bleeding.
Wild wolves have broken through the gate.
It is Veterans’ Day in America, and Trakl’s haunting lines of verse give me pause. I feel more reflective this Veterans’ Day than most, and I’m not sure why. If I were to attempt to listen and characterize the energy of the American people right now, I’d say that we are anxious, restless within our borders, like dogs straining forward at the ends of our leashes.
My cat sleeping on the chair next to my bed calms the world… I’m convinced of this, and I’m grateful. It’s always the little things.
Happy Veterans’ Day, my fellow veterans. Thank you for your service.
*George Trakl was a German poet who served in the army during World War I. He died of suicide at the age of 27. He’s one of my favorite poets.