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By Stephen Sandy

Tell me the way to the wedding

Tell me the way to the war,

Tell me the needle you’re threading

I won’t raise my voice anymore.


And tell me what axe you are grinding

Where the boy on the bivouac believes,

What reel you are unwinding

For the girl in her bed who grieves.


While behind a derrick’s girder

He watches the sinking sun,

He asks what he’ll do for murder

And what he will do for fun.


Will you read him the ways of war

His Miranda rights in sin,

Will you tell him what to ignore

When he studies your discipline?


He dozes off—but he shakes

In a dream that he is the one

Death finds abed and wakes

Just as the night is done.


Tell me what boats go ashore

Riding the oil-dimmed tide,

Red streamers and black in store

For the boy with a pain in his side.


And tell me where they are heading

Tonight; now tell me the score.

Tell me the way to their wedding

I won’t raise my own voice anymore.

Stephen Sandy, “Gulf Memo” from The Thread. Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Sandy. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Source: The Thread (Louisiana State University Press, 1998)

  • Living
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Stephen Sandy
Stephen Sandy studied poetry with Robert Lowell and Archibald MacLeish, earned a PhD from Harvard University, and traveled to Japan on a Fulbright Visiting Lectureship. He was the author of 11 collections of poetry and was honored with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Council on the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. Sandy taught for many years at Bennington College. He is the poet featured in the documentary The Biologist, the Poet and the Funeral Director (2007).  See More By This Poet

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