Grade A: singing iron

Written in Albuquerque (Mesa SE), February 2000.  I got accused of displacing the Indo-Europeans or somebody to the beginning of the Iron Age;  but the poem doesn’t refer to any particular barbarian hordes.  It’s a farewell to my own inner warrior, I think.  Published in my books The Closed Shrine and Wings of the Gray Moon.

singing iron


Enticed by iron

we laid our bronze in tombs

(only its sound was sharp to us now)

& we roamed ahead.


Black iron with red edges

seen before a sun

steeping prairies running down

to cities on rivers,

quick travel for iron wheels—


we could only praise the dead

by leaving them behind

with their blunt & bending things

& with our forges.

We showed our teeth

around our voices

singing iron.