Three poems by Renwick Berchild

Downstream

..
And men are the evilest of beings—
there is no doubt in this.
..
In southern keelings,
in northern sleeps, hungry lions
call.
..
Like mewling cats, like baaing sheep, as dying
bodies deflate and hiss, waters inky
with mass casualty, with weeping
boys take their guns and wash them.
..
So is war. So is violence. No freedom flapping
in a wind. There is no noble purpose when it is happening
there is no greater understanding when the last bombs drop
and all cheer loud.
..
Men don’t have names. Men don’t have minds.
Not on the plains cragged in murder.
..
Women don’t have love. Women don’t have truth.
All slaughter flows downstream.

..
..
The Guns
..
,,
Damn your guns. Damn your corporations.
Benefactor—beguile me no more. I curse your silk sheets and feather bed.
,,
How much wider can be craned the maw? May we all fit inside
or shall some dig graves, some lie in them, the rest
eat up, sleep well.
..
I was told that the world was mine; it is a sad memory.
I was told that good do good and cruel ones die, but in summers
all the light is laden with silent weeping.
..
The buildings rise up fast as weeds, glint as lances
spiked on the mounds in the morn
draped in gonfalons with fray and holes.
..
Dear Soldiers,
..
how many bodies have you set lead into, how many threads are holding
your uniforms and medals upright, fingers around bazookas and bombs,
feet on gas pedals, helmets strapped down
..
Dear Soldiers,
..
how many times can we ask of you to passively go
into the red meadows of singular war, the godheads keeping
the mountains all for themselves, for their many houses trimmed
in frescoes and gold, the many bodies stacked up just beyond their stoops
just outwith the velvet of their robes
 ..
Dear Soldiers,
..
you smell the oil in the streets, blood streaks
on our soles, those sands
those sands
..
are hunting us.
..
..
War Is Not Over When It’s Over
..
..
Before the wars stabbed us in the veins
before the narcotic of violence bloomed all the trees bloody
my father held me, in a hand that never once held a gun
the bounty of love shriveled up in the coronas of bombs.
..
Wilfred Owen said to beware the Old Lie
but boys marched in the echoes, girls raised their eyes
so were the ships of iron knelt in the sands with holes cut in them
so were the beetles and soils turgid with fill.
..
The buttoned up men came to my door
I said, “No, not I.” and hid my shame in a bow
the country fed on unwillingness as much as it fed on willingness
there was no moral universe left to rest in.
..
No one slept those years
the tsunamis of battalions came, drowned all the truth and dreams
the hammers hit the red gluttonously, the weapons got forged
in the wheel of relentless jingoism and pedantry, we lingered.
..
My sister stopped her menstruating
so hollow she could not make life, nor love, nor eat
My brothers are all dead somewhere on those flattened scapes
with yellow and purple faces sagged, victimised.
..
I say to my paramore, “Let the lead balloons have me.”
succor of the daffodils seems so sweet. When in the rank heat
I’d plunge my head into the buckets of brown water
open my woeful mouth and breathe.
..
“No one knows us.”
the last words of my mother before she got rolled over.
Is there anyone out there who still hears and cares, I ask of you
to read this poem aloud for me.
 ..
The wars won’t end. As I walk to the grocery and back
ghosts torn and hobbled build new temples
to lay their wounded hearts, and the beasts
will feast on the soured muscles and grow strong again.
,,
Again and again, oh God, again.
,,
,,
,,
,,
Renwick Berchild is half literary critic, half poet. She writes at Nothing in Particular Book Review, and her poems have appeared in SUSAN Journal, isacoustics*, Spillwords,Vita Brevis, The Stray Branch, The Machinery India, Social Alternatives, Streetcake Mag, and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. She was born and raised on the angry northern shores of Lake Superior, and now lives in a micro-apartment in Seattle, WA. You can find her work and additional links at RenwickBerchild.com.

One thought on “Three poems by Renwick Berchild

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s