(1)

(Retiro Park, Madrid)

Men died here, fighting from behind

Thick oaks, whose wet leaves working in

To mounds of earth suggest shared graves,

If little else, to judge from tight-

Lipped veterans marching back and forth

In their bemedalled best. Heads bowed

In thought, they seem unable to

Shrug off, inter survivors’ guilt,

The past that clings and rots, while trees

In weeping shed and bury theirs.

(2)

(Rethymnon, Crete)

The winter mountains clad like gods

In snow that only fell last night

Stand suddenly much closer to

A town still occupied with war,

Besieging with a stronger light

And fresher air the ruined streets

And fortress walls, as though they want,

Before the thaw and their retreat

Into the plains, to liberate

From memories the TPI’s

And widows always dressed in black

Who barely offer them a glance.

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