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Camouflage (2007)


Wing-furled to near invisibility in the tall grass this gold-shaft flicker
          in all its tawny shades is an image of camouflage concealed except
for the bloodred glimmer that is its bib and the coal-black splash
          on its lower breast while all else (grass-blades and the light between)
is a picture of glitter and shadow a kinetic kaleidoscope its eyes
          keep reading to know it whole the way I would see into this colour
photograph of two soldiers in camouflage battledress their slapdash
          mix of tawny and bleached green blending into the indifferent glare
of sun and sand and the faded brick pastels of walls roof-slates gables
          and get inside the minds of these two strangers in a strange mistaken
land of combat and they wary as cats ready for fight or flight and
          thinking not of the justice-or-no of any cause but only how each will
help the other back to base safe for one more day in which the basics
          matter more than ever—stay alive and stay invisible to the gimlet eye
of the sniper and be not in the wrong place at the wrong time when one more
          martyr takes himself and all around him out of consideration
until the naked numb fact of mounting numbers will bring things
          with camouflage-cover blown to sandy smithereens into the open.


Eamon Grennan

The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review

Winter 2013


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