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Lay for the Day
19th June


“Juneteenth”– a festival still celebrated in Texas to mark the anniversary of the emancipation of the state’s slaves, by order of the Federal Army command, on 19th June 1865.

from Stories from the Heart

Not so much
poems as the maps of a free land
where poetry is spoken,
where the Statue of Liberty stands
in a green field as a pylon,
a high-tension wire in the grip of her fisted hand.

* * * * *

I stepped outside to see
that time we’re free.
I stepped out to take my part
in a great day
when every heart is whole,
every body a good soul.
I stepped out through a summer door
into endless war.

* * * * *

What you burn down is rebuilt
as a pile of cold, pale-crusted ash.
What you drown is tossed up
as sand and sponge, jelly, shell and weed.
What you bury works its way back to the top
to be eaten.
The fissure you paper over with lies
tears down the building.
The blood you take can’t be kept or given back,
but feeds the earth where your death awaits.

by John Gibbens
from Makings ’77-’83


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar