Battle on the Ice, Frederick Pollack

9357045_origAlex Lilly



Battle on the Ice

The knights advance on the frozen lake.
The comic effect when they lose their footing
fades as they regain it.
Their flags are soigné spears,
their spears the flags of an abstraction.
They rely on the inhuman
impression they make
of nearly eyeless steel-creatures, tube-men,
to scare us. It works.

It’s fear, perhaps, not courage
that roots us, comparatively runty,
in rags, to our end of the lake.
We neither bang on our shields
nor mock. Somewhere inside
we’re elsewhere, blind and fond
as puppies, communal as puppies
or our small, patient horses,
yearning for peace –

representing, in short, other values
than the knights who, as our cunning
succeeds, fall in.

Frederick Pollack


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