‘The Barn’

Published 10:45 am Friday, May 3, 2013

Editor’s Note: Lee Stockdale was winner of the adult division Sidney Lanier Poetry Award.

by Lee Stockdale

The resistance nonexistent

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Phantom ghosts or pathetically inept

They said there’d be one candle in the window

There might as well be a candle

In every window of every house in the village

There’s straw everywhere

They’ve scattered it all over the streets

Like a bandage

To heal them

Make everything all right

To cover the putrid smell

Women shrieking

What are they shrieking for?

This is nothing

Cur dogs licking bones


Wide, terrified eyes

In bombed-out stairwells

What could you do?

Put her in your backpack?

I had nothing

We had nothing

We felt like savages

Not conquering heroes


No one had any pride

Dignity, pride

In the sewer

For what?

For pride

We found a barn

And collapsed inside

Tobin starts blabbering

To the pigeons

To the lantern’s waltzing shadows


Shut up!

Go to sleep!

He’s onto the swastika now