Saturday, September 24, 2011

Three Poem Drafts

Hail, Rome!

Hail, Rome! The sun is bright,
the serpent perched on high
on bough that bears the apples light
whence you shall surely die.
And are you strong? O Mighty Rome,
know that this is your failing.
However much our base is stone
or mighty is your sailing,
the likes of you are not brought low
by sea wolves or by reivers --
Look to the glass to see your foe,
or check your head for fevers.
For one hand always slices through
the neck, however shielded.
It is your own. Its aim is true
with weapons you have wielded.
Or yet, the small, the scarce, unseen,
that sickens from inside,
encouraged by your deeds unclean
shall newer days elide.

Hail Rome! You shall die;
the world shall weep because of it,
the nations gnash their teeth and cry --
they shall not have enough of it
as highways built by human hands
are ripped to shreds by fragile grasses,
and trees break streets you have unmanned,
and stones block lonely passes,
or sealanes with no ghost or trace
forget you, love another;
and airlanes cease to know your trade,
but only wind that wuthers.

Black Squirrels

The black squirrels in Queen's Park
I miss; their scurry and their leap,
their eyes with cunning gleams
in heads half-cocked with listening,
their tails curled in the air:
I see them in my dreams.


Little Jewish girl! You conquer all;
your ebon tress
that lightly falls
on homespun dress
more precious than a crown of gold,
your mouth that spoke sacred Shema's words
made sacredby your yes.
Your ear has heard
the heaven-song, your eye saw the sheen,
the shimmer of the things unseen.
Upon your Aramaic tongue
the world's own fate
at last had hung;
the angels wait
with bated spirit for your song,
from heaven's gateways spill and throng
to hear Israel in you speak:
They quest, they seek,
they headlong hurl
to wait upon a Jewish girl!

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