mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

The babies are growing into their suits

Did you know Paul O Williams writes haiku and tanka as well as door-stopper fantasy? I just discovered that one of my favourite haiku is his:
three a.m.
the room now dimly blue
the first snow
This because I somehow demolished 2/3 of a bottle of wine while cooking and eating dinner, and in that mood looked at the translated Hellsing manga I got from the library along with Feet of Clay. Doubtless a mistake in my free-floating free-association state.

So here I am looking at the rebarbatively violent Hellsing manga, and I read

THE SOLDIERS LINE UP
AND MARCH DOWN THE ROAD.
TO WAGE WAR UPON A DISTANT ENEMY

THEY KEEP MARCHING ON
JUST SO THEY CAN DIE
...IN THIS TIME GONE MAD

WHO KNOWS WHY...
THOUGH THE DEPTHS OF THEIR HEARTS
IS SO TOTALLY DARK.

NOTHING CAN BE SEEN.

THEY STAND IN A WIND-BLOWN FIELD.
COUNTING THE NUMBER OF CORPSES.

IN THE PLAZA. THE SOLDIERS ARE DANCING IN A CIRCLE.
BUT THEY HAVE
NO TIME FOR THAT.

TO MAKE THEIR ESCAPE.
TO PROLONG...
THE LENGTH OF THEIR LIVES


THEY WATCH HOW THE ROTTEN SHADOW
FROM THE CLOCKTOWER AT THE END OF THE WORLD
FALLS ACROSS THE RED FIELD

ARM IN
ARM IN
ARM IN
ARM
THEY'RE WATCHING AND LAUGHING


And at once I think

a) Pterry's Death
b) ohhh god- 'rotten.' Like 'rusty'- something the Japanese say and we don't
c) hey that sounds like
The Babies

Let us save the babies.
Let us run downtown.
The babies are screaming.

You shall wear mink
and your hair shall be done.
I shall wear tails.

Let us save the babies
even if we run in rags
to the heart of the town.

Let us not wait for tomorrow
Let us drive into town
and save the babies.

Let us hurry.
They lie in a warehouse
with iron windows and iron doors

The sunset pink of their skin
is beginning to glow.
Their teeth

poke through their guns
like tombstones.
Let us hurry

They have fallen asleep
Their dreams
are infecting them

Let us hurry
Their screams rise
from the warehouse chimney.

We must move faster.
The babies have grown into their suits
They march all day in the sun without blinking.

Their leader sits in a bulletproof car and applauds.
Smoke issues from his helmet.
We cannot see his face--

we are still running
More babies than ever are locked in the warehouse.
Their screams are like sirens.

We are still running to the heart of the town.
Our clothes are getting ragged
We shall not wait fo tomorrow.

The future is always happening now.
The babies are growing into their suits
Let us run to the heart of town.

Let us hurry.
Let us save the babies.
Let us try and save the babies.
By someone called Mark Strand, who, thanks to google, I now know something about, 25 years after I first read his poem.
Tags: manga, verse
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