Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Palinurus

My Christmas poem. Upbeat - not.


 Palinurus

It was the age of golden coincidences.
That night, when I fell from the deck
It was not, to my surprise, the wine dark sea
Received me, but an undertow of milk
Dragged me through the panics of the birth canal

We woke to screams along the street
Flames taking the palace walls. Our faces flickered
As we streamed out of the South Gate
Hidden in the Goddess’ hand. First things last
Nursery rhymes turned to ash in our mouths

Have you ever seen the farmboy kill
The cubs of the rat, by chance uncovered in the barn.
He raises the shovel and one two three
Swift successive blows batter down
At once the entire dim lineage. Such were our faces.

Down to the water then. Our leader spoke
Only of things of the ship
We crossed the rippling shadow cast
By what seemed impossible to overthrow
Walls built by giants and by gods.

All at once I thought, everything that could be lost
Would be. Which is why I was surprised
How the walk home from school came back
Impregnable, as the milk carried me down,
And I counted every step.



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