THE HELMET

Michael Longley

When shiny Hector reached out for his son, the wean
Squirmed and buried his head between his nurse's breasts
And howled, terrorized by his father, by flashing bronze
And the nightmarish nodding of the horse-hair crest.

His daddy laughed, his mammy laughed, and his daddy
Took off the helmet and laid it on the ground to gleam,
Then kissed the babbie and dandled him in his arms and
Prayed that his son might grow up bloodier than him.

 
From Gods and Mortals, ed. Nina Kossman

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