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SKOAL,
by Robert W. Greene
 

With cup upraised, the incipit resounds.
The rest, in Ursprache too, a slur of rounded
vocables, trails off within ear's reach.
All toasts call down long life and peace,

stout health, more victories than not,
on company foregathered in a flock,
then, grown faint, slow the fall of light,
stir gray coals to flame in Norway's night.

For in their ebb a telegraph spells out
with hammered wedges syllables that shout
through tablets, diminuendo, brave cries,

as chieftains proffer signs to watchful eyes
and cadenced ululations drown out fear:
"Sláinte!  Lechayim!  Scheherazade is here!"


 

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