Progressive Symptomology / La Guerre

Kerry, at Real Toads, has issued me a personal challenge to write to the art of Eugenio Recuenco. I have accepted her challenge. Twice.


The disease began in the heart,
As all diseases do.
There were no doctors, then; no medicine,
But the nurses could smell it.
The nurses knew.

A normal heart fills
Like a drunkard's wine cup, again and again.
It floats, a hovering, invisible host,
Passing it around;
Spreading it thin.

The disease began in his heart,
Which, up until then,
Had been as anonymous within as a
Quiet neighbor, unseen and unknown,
A diamond in a fen.

A normal nurse waits
All in white like a bride, knowing her place,
Waiting at the station, or in the wings,
Like a sluggish pulse
Burning to race.

His disease began in the heart,
Then spread apace,
Involving his eyes as he declared his feckless love
Laid out in labored sighs, all over a nurse,
All over his face.


I kissed a German woman,
And it brought the bombers,
That night
And every night since.
Heads have rolled,
And in my bones, I can feel
Little black eagles making their nests.

You'll say, the pilots are dead.
But, no.
They may be dust, dry as stones,
But they bomb the streets
In little neat rows
All because I kissed a woman;
All because I couldn't say no.

She warned me.
She told me, you are poor little Belgium,
Trotting out your schoolgirl French,
Fragile as a croissant in the cross hairs;
But I kissed her anyway
Like a camp-following fifteen minute wench,
And now, every night,
My little black eagles fly up through the bombs,
As quaint and fine as Kaisers;
My one-winged strutting prayers.

art by Eugenio Recuenco, poetry by Shay Caroline 


Cloudia said…
"My little black eagles fly up through the bombs"


Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >


< ° ) } } > <

Kerry O'Connor said…
If you'll forgive me repeating my comment here (I'm a Gemini too)


I don't know what other word to use. Both these poems smash through the sound and light barriers of the confined world and send debris spinning off into space.

#1 A normal heart fills
Like a drunkard's wine cup, again and again...

#2 And in my bones, I can feel
Little black eagles making their nests...

and #3, those one-winged strutting prayers.

Bravo Maestro!
Anonymous said…
you definitely rose to the challenge, Shay!

"Fragile as a croissant in the cross hairs;"

i love your words!!! ♥
Sioux Roslawski said…
" a camp-following fifteen minute wench...a normal nurse waits, all in white like a bride..."

What powerful, twisted images, as usual, Shay.
Dave King said…
Magic. Truly. These two poems blow me away each time I read them without giving me a ghost of a clue as to how they do that. I can't adequately say how much I like these (yet), but thank you for them.
Brian Miller said…
all over a nurse all over his face...hehe...def some interesting imagery in these shay....some great lines in there but if i listed them they would be longer than your poem...smiles.
Maude Lynn said…
Wow! These are both amazing, Shay. I particularly like "fragile as a croissant in the cross hairs."
Daryl said…
See, you dont wanna challenge the wonder that created Danny's ..
hedgewitch said…
Both of these are as good as it gets, in my humble opinion. Picking one over the other would *really* be the challenge. You've caught the nuance of insanity and 'wrongness' that the artist portrays in the first pic, and the deep sense of posed artificiality in the figure in the second you contrast with a living heart amidst the illogic and brutality of war.Just fine work--some of the best you've turned out.
Forgive me for drooling while sighing but especially from organs that are not known for doing so, my mind, my heart, my soul.

Your wonderful words and gives poetry and prose justice.

Gracias, mi amiga!
Marion said…
I bow in awe of your genius talent. Awesome, just awesome!! xo
TALON said…
Wow, Shay! You rose so far above the challenge. Amazing!
There is violence in these poems, but under a calm surface...does that make sense?
HermanTurnip said…
"Had been as anonymous within as a quiet neighbor"

Wow! That line, more than anything else, is now etched in my memory. Love it!
Anonymous said…
Damn, I am glad that I finally figured out how to comment here. I have come back to read this many times. I love it. Love it!
Helen said…
'like a sluggish pulse burning to race' totally DID it for me! I also bow to your genius.