The Abnormal Is Not Courage
The Poles rode out from Warsaw against the German
Tanks on horses.
Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers,
A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
And yet this poem would lessen that day.
Say it's not courage.
Call it a passion.
Would say courage isn't that.
Not at its best.
It was impossib1e, and with form.
They rode in sunlight,
But I say courage is not the abnormal.
Not the marvelous act.
Not Macbeth with fine speeches.
The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.
It is too near the whore's heart: the bounty of impulse,
And the failure to sustain even small kindness.
Not the marvelous act, but the evident conclusion of being.
Not strangeness, but a leap forward of the same quality.
The even loyalty.
Not the Prodigal Son, nor Faustus.
The thing steady and clear.
Then the crescendo.
The real form.
And the exceeding.
Not the surprise.
The amazed understanding.
Not the month's rapture.
Not the exception.
That is of many days.
Steady and clear.
It is the normal excellence, of long accomplishment.