Bleu sur bleu

                    After the Great War,
                                        for a poilu from his paramour—

                                                            Some lines on viewing
                                                                                a picture painted by Una Gray,1
                                                            entitled the same—

Against a wall, annual reigns
     fall to allow riders to be
     swallowed by what we all call Fate’s
     troubling pace, throwing to their face
     kings anticipating old ways
     to save them gracing the front page.

In a storm of headlines you page
     through, moving to what name always
     eludes you, I save you with face
     giving headway, tugging your reins
     with a nod when you shrug, poor Fate
     concerned we wouldn’t make it, be

     condemned never to meet, or be
     taking for granted, instead, Fate’s
     plan of bringing together rains
     better spent on tears, than on page-
     after-page of conditions faced
     whether or not torn, we part ways.

Stations after war’s stationed ways,
     in crowds’ and queues’ platform waves, face-
     on we face for a spell no page
     can take, capture, or break, to be
     depicted in a spread arraigns
     querents who tempt their cards, when Fate

     calls on us to draw again, Fate
     near-fatal, almost lethal, reigns
     too-long-to-handle, for to be
     holding hands, while wearing crowns, weighs
     against fortune worth more than page
     or undying fame records, face

     and portrait immortal when face
     and soul both perform without page
     to refer to, silence, in ways
     no voice can outdo, does what Fate
     wants to but won’t: says to us, ‘Be
     who you are and take-up love’s reins.’

                    Bleu sur bleu, uniforms weep rains
                         fields killing feelings fought with Fate
                         to parch, hearts deluge(d) in new ways.

1Una Gray, “Bleu sur Bleu,” circa 1920, oil on canvas, 100.3 × 64.6 cm, accession number 1928.3, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax.