Published in Poets Reading the News, July 2019
Tales from Andersen: A found poem
Upon the election of Donald Trump to the United States presidency, 2016
All stories must come to an end.
In the last evening of the year, bareheaded
and with naked feet, red and blue from cold,
the toys, offspring to a tin spoon, play
at fighting battles and hosting balls, plunder the tree.
Two carriages roll by dreadfully fast.
The children fall down and form a long trail of fire.
The soldier, in the smartest red and blue uniform imaginable,
falls head foremost, his bayonet fixed between two paving stones.
He does not think it proper to shout when he is in uniform.
The little dancer flutters like a sylph
straight to the fire, to the soldier:
“Do you know where those trees were taken? Did you meet them?”
Her father will beat her if she returns without a farthing.
They leave the soldier to shed tears of tin.
It is terrible lonely here: Paper castle, paper boat
dancing up and down. What waves there are in the gutter,
and what a current! The roast goose hops down from the dish
with a knife and fork in its breast
and then the light goes out.
Sources: Hans Christian Andersen, “The Match Girl,” “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” and “The Fir Tree.”