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The Waste

The Wasteland

The Waste

by Axe

In the waste burn the fires—the war has come

At last! To cadence of a stabbing drum,

The stumbling conscripts, still confused and dumb,

Lick dry lips, and each the others’ wild eyes

Seeks, searching for a reason. Now arise

The shouts, left and right. All throats the reprise

Fills, and the blasphemies, ten thousand lies,

Sown mindlessly ten thousand times, assault

Together, as one will, the shielding vault

Of Heaven. Of the nothing they exalt,

They nothing know—but higher mount the fires,

And thicker fold the smokes, and in their mires

The conscripts stomp as stomping they are led.

The trumpets blow. The drum falls still and dead.

The acrid plumes twist in the charging winds.

On pensive fields, the sopping reek descends.

Before their props of razored metal cut,

Before a single, stinging eye can shut

Or glare defiantly, and burning, weep,

The fields, their pyre, are kindled. White fires sweep

Horizon to horizon. Billows bloom

Like blinding clouds of sunlight, and consume

The conscripts, the fires, the smokes, and the fumes.

Now all the dream is light.

The blinding clouds become a thinning fog.

The thinning fog becomes an azure haze.

The azure haze becomes deepening sky.

And so is pride ignored, so suddenly.

† † †

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