A Writer Writes: A Poem For Hemingway

Sunday Morning
July 2, 1961

The road home was flat.
Miss Mary drove.
The old hunter, watching
The distant hills,
Small breasts against the plains,
Thought of Kenya, the rugged
Mountains, where death was
Close as brush,
Gentler than the
Slow defacing of flesh.
Fragile as the light birds he
Picked from the sky
Decades and miles away,
He no longer heard the call.

He wrote of sin as no small town
Methodist ever had,
Carving his prose with a new
King of tool;
Honed in the woods of Michigan,
Sharpened by a fascist war,
And tempered for an old man of Cuba.

Pencils now were hollow in his hands,
The juice that flowed so ready
Had yellowed in his veins.
He was what Gertrude had proclaimed.
Sunday he woke to our tragedy,
Sought in the library of his exile
His own Kilimanjaro.

Feeling in sick hands the shape he loved
His mind slide back to Africa.
The gun grew hot.

Seeing the maimed lion charge
He threw the bolt,
Shaking the Idaho home,
Waking Miss Mary
To know.

John Coyne

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