The Wall in Iraq

A scene, called “Peace”, from the so-called “Standard of Ur”.

[My first blog post, back in 2009, was a far different version of the poem below. I removed it from the site when I started blogging again in 2013, and had no plans to revisit it. But for some reason, more than six years after I first wrote it, I have started writing it again—and have made it much shorter if not much else.
          So, gentle poem, welcome back to the internet. (And great Achilles will be sent once more to Troy!)]

The deepest past’s mere meters down,
a lot of dust no doubt to those
who made it, but even ground
this trodden—boots, bare soles—
is air to a bomb.
A wall that rose,
and was buried in time,

rises again, its surface glass-
like rock, blue as movie-star-eyes.
The weathered ones whose hands glossed
the standing stone, like skies
over Ur long watched
for sterile signs
of things to pass, have passed.

Colours, populous in nature,
do not penetrate the iris,
but glass can well invade her
eyes, two dirt-red pebbles
smoothed by salt water.
Something happens
with life, some stray contour

around the side of natural
beauty shakes its skin and crumbles
into want. A thimbleful
of chancing chemicals
falls in a careful
mess, carelessness
diluting the dead-still,

slow-dying purity of rock.
The girl picks lapis lazuli
from her eyes. Fired up and dropped,
the shrapnel of history
shattered her sight. Stop.
Do not worry.
Even walls cannot last.

Bucolic III

Gentle, the fields, slowly, eating the bones,
Blood drinking, men upon them, new, compete,
Goat bone, sheep blood too, gently now and slow.

The fields fill, the tillers bring up again
Buried air, new, with old blood in them, veins,
Slowgentle the flow, new, on old scars, skin.

Applemouthed dogs as like, or heifers
Fleshcudding, as new, on inherited
Tongues, songs—war still, war, allwar, ungently

And swift, leaching through those old tales, leeching,
History, for new, like unfastened old
Rivers, twists, through the fields, and turns, bloodcropped.

For God and Crusty

What can the nationalist reply
When reptile naturalists imply
That even mighty Urland’s glory,
Like a mite, is transitory?
The nationalist may one day turn
Quasi-geologist and spurn
Volcanically each rival plate
That preaches its own pompous fate.
“Is it not just that Urmagnia,
Upper crust of old Pangaea,
Ought to rule the lithosphere?—
It’s blessed by God! And Wegener!”
But patriot, however exotic
The limit of your own tectonic—
Though it usurp the uniplace—
Everything is just a phase!

words

              words
echo with the ghosts
of almost wholly-lost
              worlds
                            but for them
                            nothing remains
                                         at all—nothing
              words hold
though only airily
              the fragile bones
of yesterday
                           loose as breath
                           but holding yet
                                          and tightening