Bullets blot out the Life-Time smile,
Apollo of the picture-page,
Blunt-faced young lion Caught by vile
Death in an everlasting cage:
And, no more young men in the world,
The old men troop to honour him.
The drums beat glum, Slight snow is swirled
In dazzling sun, pale requiem.
And pale dark-veiled Persephone,
A golden child In either hand,
Stands by white pillars; Silently,
It seems she might for ever stand.
In bright grey sun, processionals
Of pomp and honour, and of grief,
Crown that dead head With coronals.
Some stony hearts feel some relief:
But not your heart, America,
Beating so slow and sure and strong,
Stricken in his Triumphal car,
Guara Caesar’s bitter laurels long
With soldiers’ music, rites of war:
He had proved bravely when put on!
The soldiers shoot. Rage echoes far
Above the grave at Arlington
December 26, 1963