canasson 2 001

Iron Horse

canasson 2 001

Lightning’s blue glare fills Oklahoma plains,
the train rolls east
casting yellow shadow on grass
Twenty years ago
approaching Texas
I saw
sheet lightning
cover Heaven’s corners
Feed Storage Elevators in gray rain mist,
checkerboard light over sky-roof
same electric lightning South
follows this train
Apocalypse prophesied—
the Fall of America
signaled from Heaven—
Ninety nine soldiers in uniform paid by the Government
to Believe—
ninety nine soldiers escaping the draft for an Army job,
ninety nine soldiers shaved
with nowhere to go but where told,
ninety nine soldiers seeing lightning flash—
a thousand years ago
Ten thousand Chinese marching on the plains
all turned their heads to Heaven at once to see the Moon.
An old man catching fireflies on the porch at night
watched the Herd Boy cross the Milky Way
to meet the Weaving Girl…
How can we war against that?
How can we war against that?
Too late, too late
the Iron Horse hurrying to war,
too late for laments
too late for warning—
I’m a stranger alone in my country again.

Allen Ginsberg