Elegy for Peter

By Bruce Weigl b. 1949 Bruce Weigl
That night we drank warm whiskey   
in our parked car
beyond woods now lost to the suburbs,   
I fell in love with you.

What waited was the war   
like a bloody curtain,   
and a righteous moment   
when the lovely boy’s

spine was snapped,
then the long falling into hell.
But lately, you’ve been calling me
back through the years of bitter silence

to tell me of another river of blood   
and of the highland’s
howl at dusk of human voices   
blasted into ecstasy.

That night in sweet Lorain   
we drank so long and hard   
we raised ourselves
above the broken places,

mill fires burning
red against the sky. Why   
is there no end   
to this unraveling.

Bruce Weigl, “Elegy for Peter” from Archaeology of the Circle: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Bruce Weigl. Reprinted with the permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc., www.groveatlantic.com.

Source: Archeology of the Circle: New and Selected Poems (Grove/Atlantic Inc., 1999)

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Poet Bruce Weigl b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Youth, Living

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Elegy


Soon after turning eighteen, Bruce Weigl enlisted in the Army and served in Vietnam for one year, beginning in December 1967. He was awarded the Bronze Star and returned to his hometown of Lorain, Ohio, where he enrolled in Lorain County Community College. As Weigl states in his best-selling prose memoir, The Circle of Hanh (2000), “The paradox of my life as a writer is that the war ruined my life and in return gave me my . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Youth, Living

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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