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WAVES

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.
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.

Having fought the Trojans and having conquered and destroyed the city of Troy, the Greeks depart for their homeland. This poem surveys the scene of the struggle (the struggle which constituted the Trojan War) after the departure of the Greeks.


THE DRAFTING OF ODYSSEUS

And so it is war.
And so they come for Odysseus, the stern-hearted recruiters:
They come to hold him to his oath
.


This poem WAVES first appeared when it was posted on the Internet by Hugh Cook on 2003 April 17 Thursday. Copyright © 2003, 2005 Hugh Cook. All rights reserved.

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