Well, sure, I stand with France, no more or less
than I did yesterday: I mean—France—
that sent the fleet to Yorktown, Comte de Grasse
kissing Washington on both cheeks, you remember, hein?—
and ladies of Paris, who tickled Ben Franklin's
ambassadorial toes of a morning—
we go way back, France and us. Way back.
But as the dawn rolls across the uplands, gray and sad,
my finger traces my river's long descent,
a shallow groove as of a Gallic beaver
dragging its tail in the New World sand.
Let alone, say, all the hats and pipes,
and the voluble suspect chatter of men
who slyly learned the Iroquois, and
taught our English Wordsworth how to sin:
no more or less than we did yesterday.
Listen: it is not heroic to suffer—
it is simply how the chain breaks, here and here.
L'héroïsme, it is
in what we bother to repair,
and what we leave alone.