Snakes go eating across the milted river
and town children learn hunting in the forest.
Under guns and oiled sun, armies tamp the clay
and caviled prayers yelp through their armor
of steel castings against what hearts can rally.
On the Lehigh, Moravian bells toll the days
and mothers make other children from dross.
The engraved names of men and victories
weather from marble thinned like scattered bones.
The foundry’s molt breathing, over the valley,
thickens blurs of summer and winter’s frost.
Old river paintings show the Dutchman towns.
Bethlehem’s church pipes blow on Christmas,
sealing houses with wounds above the blast.
Original appearance in The New Criterion.