The Grave Of An Unknown Soldier And The Garden of Arlington

The garden of Arlington brings me to my own
grave among wounded gums and broken stone.
Not knowing whom, I served with some of these sons
from mayday coral to the nightmare Solomons
where hell came down on bravado. Everyone prayed
to Mum. The ships’ guns threw flames of smoke
into seas and coastlines bleeding green, and laid
down perimeters for the condemned to take again
the conquered islands. The carnage? Thank God you spoke.
Trenches swaddled the green dead who spaded in,
and many of these you must imagine here
among the shade of trees that stand in state
and want to shelter them – too late – with a great
camouflage: the green leaves of Arlington
in a soft and amber fall; and in the garden
Armageddon looks on them all with stillness
dug from a trench as deep as an unstaunched gun,
and I, the visitor, salute grave evergreen
and wounded gums that an unknown woman waits among.