The Rose Garden

The rose garden

is readied for the year.

Pruned, first buds appear

but Hölderlin

has withdrawn to his tower

for forty years, and misses it all.

Maybe that kept the apocalypse at bay

like Simon Stylites in his day.

Reciprocity moves to its own extremes of power.

If you hit me on the cheek

I’ll turn and smash your face in.

That’s where the world’s going, said von Clausewitz

on war. Hölderlin’s

classmate Hegel

at une fenêtre

saw Napoleon go by

on horse. That thug.

But my roses still bud.

The war in Afghanistan aims

to subject the Taliban to our will

but moves to its reciprocal extremes

killing the most or all by any means.

Soldiers object to being court-martialled

for killing children.

It must be accidental or collateral.

An unsteady hand with a tremor

directs the secateurs

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