He never returned without a book
a newfound treasure, tucked under his arm
until he could not pay the rent
and had to sell them, one by one
each volume, old and leather-bound
for food, his newfound plague.
He never returned without a sou
from selling his tomes so dearly loved
but seemed to wither, stripped of life
as fortune stripped him of his words.
The faded print he held so dear
that meaning seemed to die.
He never returned from whence he came
the house with payment overdue
but stood instead to wave the flag
of men e’er doomed to martyrdom.
He took his senile stance with pride
the only chapter left to him.
you would if you could
preach Republicanism to the gamblers and their dice
but what would they say but
and what could you do but
but faced with the blue eyes of Phoebus, an angel
his Aryan locks just kept under control
the curled upper lip of Achilles, contempt weaving lines on his brow
so offer to take up his mantle, his armour,
take all but his spear
his passion, his cause, is too weighty a burden
take instead all you have, all you’ve learned
watch the derision, disdain and contempt
watch it fade in his eyes – as his worries return
“but you don’t believe in anything”
Achilles, how little you know, why I’ve fought, why I fight
as he watches with worry
a glimmer of hope
until you tell him what you’re fighting for
not Patria, your master’s mistress, so lightly throwing lives of men
upon a fiery furnace, a fickle she
who cares not for the faith of man
but rather, their abundance
“I believe in you”
some take it as banter, dismiss it as nonsense
a drunken babbling, caused by numbing of the wits
but he lets you, permits it – how prophetic!
So you preach to the gamblers of Patria’s beauty
and what do they say but “join us”?
and what can you do but
Do not shed a single tear
O child without a care
For you know not the name and state
Of she who lies ‘neath here.
Do not count the heap of stones
That mark her head out from her toe
Respect the soil without lament
The life you owe draws from her bones.
Do not wish the moments by
In wist or futile reverie
Clutch not the shadow of her form
Hear not the golden angel cry.
Cherubim did not play herald to my presence
Nor did Peter greet me at the gates
These gates were not crafted out of golden ore, or silver
But creaked a little, as the rusty hinge
Was bit by bit persuaded to swing open
I did not lie on trains of silver cloud
Nor see a light upon my voyage hence
No flight nor host of angels eased transition
The very metamorphosis of state
Was ascended alone – to what?
A Hand hath guided me to land of spirits
But none of these dread spirits did me greet
Within, without these gates is little change
A man, abreast of none, with knarlēd stick
Striving sans hope within a lonely haunt.