Cenotaph


Oh, scatter this pillar so heavy 

on our minds, and let us see

Deep within its hand piled mass

Rock upon stone, weighing past

the multitude of souls recalled.

Let us stand 

painful in their silence, 'til we see 

each last warrior for liberty.


This grim, bleak communality each year

Displacing from our mind and time

that host of named men and boys

Smiling, waving

falling, dying

Each in his own moment,

Gone in the cause of liberty. 


This monolith

Its heavy concentrating words

Defining article, massing nouns,

We, Our, Army, Fallen, Dead

Collects each soul, forfeits their names

Presumes upon all grief, subsumes all loss

Gathers all privy life and personal

Imprisms all thoughts, diminishes our spirits

Diffuses the sacrifice

Of each lost warrior of liberty.


All sacrifice is personal.

Then let us know them, hear each name

And in the knowing, hearing

Imagine, if I can, one un-lived life, unique and personal.

Erect from those imaginings, gathered

One upon one, lighter than light

An undying memorial

To our warriors, given to liberty.

 © Philip Knight 2018