The Burghers of Calais
What of the hard, chained man in drab
or oil-gray? Supplant his adamantine
heart with a soft laminae heart.
Who is weeping inside the hot metal?
To leave this godforsaken slag scrub,
I would unravel the blue twine
of my aorta and spurt
away. While the beast chews his meat, I’ll
slip out of his ear into the snow.
There I will see there are others
gesturing, an alchemy of flesh.
Wind making tremolo
through the daisies—: smothered
under a sheet of bronze, under a ghost of ash.
(Rodin, Auguste, The Burghers of Calais, 1884-86, Bronze,
82 1/2 x 95 x 78 in., Rodin Museum, Philadelphia)