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ROBERT KLEIN ENGLER

 

 

 

Robert Klein EnglerRobert Klein Engler lives in Des Plaines, Illinois and sometimes New Orleans. Many of Robert’s poems, stories, paintings and photographs are set in the Crescent City. His long poem, 'The Accomplishment of Metaphor and the Necessity of Suffering', set partially in New Orleans, is published by Headwaters Press, Medusa, New York, 2004. He has received an Illinois Arts Council award for his "Three Poems for Kabbalah".

 

 

 

 

 

A Peace That Comes From Defeat

 

The great Japanese warrior and swordsman

Muneyoshi got to a point where he had enough.

He joined a monastery. Looking back on all his

razor edge had cut away, he saw his years as a

stone boat unable to cross the frothy sea of life.

We do not know if he sank into despair or smiled.

 

He told us this with brush and black ink on white,

rice paper, while all around the torches flamed

and peasants without names dug up cabbages

and plodded in the muddy fields keeping an eye

to see if smoke on the horizon would come closer.

They have no name, so who remembers them?

 

Young men want wars. The dojo floor shines from

the friction of their feet. Victory leading the people.

Vive la France! So much politics we slip in the street

wet with the blood of civil rights turned to civil

wrongs. Muneyoshi writes about the waste of war.

His poem is mine. We lost both beauty and time.

 

There is joy on the steps of the courthouse when

word comes the judges said same-sex marriage is

now possible, a joy, like the mass cry that went up

when the crowd heard Savonarola was dead or little

Alexei Romanov had a bullet tear away half his face.

He falls wearing a sailor suit into the Russian straw.

 

One sonnet series, one play, two long poems and

still the infection has not left the blood. Madness,

that's what we learn in analysis. Foolishness, that's

what you say when you are drunk, and then that

point in time where they were alone and he said

for once what cut away the shadow from his soul.

 

Muneyoshi sees what he wants. The valley is cast

in fog. Pine trees drop their diamonds of dew into

a stillness that is not yet still. The river rushes by.

From the pebbled bank the wheeze of horses

and the rattle of gear rises up. Swordsmen clash.

Whatever frees the soul happens in a flash.

 

 

©2014 Robert Klein Engler

 

Author Links

 

Robert Klein Engler homepage

Interview with Robert Klein Engler in the Adirondack Review

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