We billion cheered.
Some threat sank in the news and disappeared.
It did because
Currencies danced and we forgot what it was.
It rose again.
It rose and slid towards our shore and when
It got to it,
It laced like a telegram. We lit
But missed it oozing along irregular wires
Towards the Smoke.
We missed it elbowing into the harmless joke
Or dreams of our
Loves asleep in the cots where the dolls are.
We missed it how
You missed an o’clock passing and miss now.
We missed it where
You miss my writing of this and I miss you there.
We missed it through
Our eyes, lenses, screen and angle of view.
We missed it though
It specified where it was going to go,
And when it does,
The missing ones are ten to one to be us.
We line the shore,
Speak of the waving dead of a waving war.
And clap a man
For an unveiled familiar new plan.
Nothing will start that hasn’t started yet.
It, its friend, its foe and its opposite.
Glyn Maxwell, “We Billion Cheered” from The Boys at Twilight: Poems 1990-1995. Copyright © 2000 by Glyn Maxwell. Reprinted by permission of Glyn Maxwell.
Source: The Boys at Twilight: Poems 1990-1995
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000)