for future generations: a poem

A tritina is a poem made up of three, three-line stanzas with an ending line. The end word of each line in the first stanza becomes the end word of a different line in the following stanzas. The final line of the poem then incorporates all three of the ending words. This is a variation on the more traditional sestina – which follows a rule of six instead of three.

for future generations: a tritina

“…to preserve the tradition of burial at…[Arlington] for future generations, the Army…says that it may have to deny it to nearly all veterans who are living today.”
~ The New York Times, Memorial Day 2018

it is a problem of finite space and infinite hunger. earth as stomach,
america as cycloptic child, with a rifle for ploughshare and mother
for mule, with little room to sow more seedlings that never bloom.

because somewhere is a child whose love of nation is yet to bloom
and burst, to anoint a foreign ground with the bile of its stomach
and break the crust of this hummocked and holy mother.

but to continue to make futile the reaping that follows sow, for mother,
for future, and for this dark, organic-rich loam to refuse to bloom,
we must find more efficient ways to stuff its stomach –


stomach for eye.

moloch for mother.

stones bloom.

1 Comment

  1. Beautiful writing. I love tritinas!
    We just buried my father last Saturday. A U.S. Marine hero. Korean War. His traumatic memories of slaughter and horror and honor and fatalism are preserved, fertilized, and blooming in his children alone. His mother, poor and hardened, had three sons on the battlefield in different wars. They fought for the lives of foreigners, humanity, and the gift of choice. Not just for America. But they returned to an America that offered them no value for their transformed lives. This became their living sacrifice.


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