Overcome

[Ang bulan namon sang una, sang una
Our moon long ago, long ago
Guin ka-on sang bakunawa
Was eaten by the bakunawa
               - Hiligaynon song]



Overcome— ragged pennant rising 
from out of the pages of old 
hymnals. They sang No more ::

               in rows, eight 
               or ten abreast in pews  

rubbed with an oilcloth to shining. 
Or standing,

             as if still in chains  
             as if bareheaded in the rain.  

Peck of corn—
              Driver's lash—
                             Hundred lash*—

This compound meaning procure
by dint of effort; vanquish, win ::

                            but also wilts
in heat or drains
like life from a body.

                        And in my world
the moon is swallowed by a serpent.
Dark-tongued with grief, 

                          we dent the faces
                          of our plates. We fasten
                          a little hope to the end of a spoon.
                          
 
                            ^^^

*from the 19th-century spiritual "No More Auction Block for Me"  

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