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Now upon the sands the sun
Beats in waves of silence.
The Greeks are gone,
To leave the daylight smoking in the ruins.
Upon the plain, a single dog stands sovereign.
Now upon the plains of Troy,
The wasp holds tenancy,
And dung on dung the beetle stirs to work.
Rock, dog, ashes, wasp and sun -
And so much carrion plunder
A stick would take three shakes to sum its total.
The Trojan dead unburied in the sun.
A season's rains will rack their joints apart,
Then the earth will open like a veteran whore
And take them under, pregnant in reverse:
Great flesh digesting lesser flesh, unnaming names,
Unbirthing dynasties, devolving
Heart, lung, bones, brain and belly
To coarser dust of earth, and common clay.
But that is later.
Now is now.
From Ida out to Samothrace the plunging light
Pours down in bright ignition and excites
The shore, the plain, the city and the sea.
Lit by lucidities of Asian light,
Armor gleams as black and red make war,
As heroes rend and tear, and pull down pain,
In reek of cinnamon gas and silence screaming.
Knowing no better.
Knowing no better.
Locked in the circus of a horseshoe stamping,
The ants contend, make war,
For the ninetieth part of a broken sparrow,
For the shreds of a fallen wing.

Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook

Picture of front cover of ARC OF LIGHT poetry collection by Hugh Cook.

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