May, 1972


Soft May mists are here again.
There, the war goes on.
Beside the privet the creamy
white tulips are extra
fine this year. There,
foliage curls blackened back:
it will, it must
return. But when?
A cardinal enchants me
with its song.
All war is wrong. The grass
here is green and buttoned
down with dandelions. A car
goes by. What peace. It–
the war–goes on. Fleeing
people. The parrot tulips
look like twisted guts.
Blood on green.
Here, a silent scream.
Can we, in simple justice,
desert our sought allies?
Draw out: I do not know.
I know the war is wrong.
We have it in us
to triumph over hate and
death, or so
the suburban spring suggests.
Here, the drive is wet
with mist. There,
the war goes on. Children
are more valuable than
flowers: what a choice
to make! The war
must end. It goes on.


James Schuyler, Collected Poems, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1995.