Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Nocturnal Encounter with a Lunatic
(after the etching from The War by Otto Dix)

by Neil Ellman

Like a flowering hand
reaching from the ground
to seize the last light of the day
this encounter
somewhere between
the earth and sky
between a lunatic and me
in a place with a name
I can’t pronounce
seems perfectly natural
not at all at odds
with the commonplace of war.

“I am Napoleon.” he says,
“I rule this battlefield, this world
all of you at my command
will bend to my magnificence.”

Bowing at the waist
I do as I was taught to do
with emperors and lunatics
I arch my back, I bend
I pay tribute
with my dignity.

He the lunatic
or I gone mad as well
he who lost his mind
and I who lost my soul
old friends
meeting on a common field
just past hell.

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