One week later a great southeaster rolled
Force eight on the Beaufort scale all night and Saturday
And heaped green pine boughs over the brown of fall
Coming from a quarter untried in the longest memory.
No weather-prophet, telstar or storm patrol
Warned of that wind that littered our open coast,
Struck us powerless bringing down what grew tall,
Whirled up from the south, now east, now west.
When Sunday came clear and cold with a level ocean
We counted loss and mostly thought how the shudder
That crushed our shores is one with the cracked passion
Leaping the short circuit between mind and murder.
He was our man, the leader our generation bore
On a stricken field, who grew in stony ground-
Depression, Spain, Munich, Hickam Field afire-
Come to full manhood on New Georgia Sound.
How the old war-wounds ache with the first of cold:
Ache in the heart, the cold ground open to drag him down,
And we stand there masterless men who feel the old
Familiar devil of betrayal stalk our ground.
For once, then, grace, wit, elegance stressed with steel
Grew from that ground, the growing blood made new
And leaped its supple lines living by style
Charged with the mass of all we dreamed was true.
Let him lie low, green pine boughs on his grave.
In the grace of his giving, in blood gone back to earth,
None of this generation but shall thrive
A second spring, new dreams, a taller growth.
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