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Poetry: History

 

Borodino

Napoléon moved in silence.
Amidst the dumb thud of guns,
he spread from the west
a mute fog toward the sun,
a noiseless mist of
stillborn peace,
as deaf as a slow ocean.

He moved in silence,
counter to the rhythm of days,
extending before him
the calm of an infant,
smothered in its quilt.

Napoléon moved in silence.
Through the cool reticence of
early winter, he slid a taut web,
thin lines stretched to
inarticulate immobility across
the perfect Empire.

He moved in silence,
a deliberate hand, smoothing,
without resistance,
the folds of a quilt.

Napoléon moved in silence.
His finework gleamed, voiceless,
through the mist, into
the first, unhurried, shiver
of silver snows, settling like
a floated quilt.

He moved in silence.
Among the tiny eyes of
winter's indifferent arrival,
he raised his face to the east,
seeing no horizon, but only
snow, and the oracular glow
of a sunrise.
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