for Sophie and Tatiana Kandaouroff and Jens-Martin Eriksen
Cities burn, favelas rot, the starving walk for water,
elections are rigged and revolutions hijacked,
tanks are deployed against the people—but
here the children walk with lanterns
along the lane between the grocery and the château,
they babble past the church, they know the life to come
is this moment, this one, this one, and this,
here—catch! They are the life to come
as they prattle and scatter across the darkening field.
The language of the speeches says “audacity”
and “tolerance” and “solidarity”
but while the parents clap and blab
the children are inheriting as the birds inherit.
They are not bankers, vintners, civil servants; they
do not spin or toil; they skelter and skirl
in polities not of the world
that their parents inhabit with their grown-up words and ways.
How hard we have striven, all of us, all these years,
millennia, to make the happy place:
for that is the end of all we
think and all we do—a village much like this, where a bonfire
burns, but neither books nor men. Is this the good life
that makes heaven pointless? This still remains:
to become as little children
skittering fast and light in the peace of the night.