And every race is a memento of the last
and the race itself is in memoriam
for the republic - its equilibrium
a dream of self-determination (still steadfast).
It seems a dream-work of oppressive habit
round and round the celebrated shell.
And the echoing shouts, curses - rivals'
obscene chicanery - twilight orbit
of the mob - all mingle there in the valley
of three hills (fuse and fade out into
children's games). And the chariot
of the elders, clasping their hoary tally-
books, stamped with the black-white oval
of Siena... an absent river (Dante's gibe)
streams invisibly beneath it all. The tribe
of poets crosses there - perpetual
hum (mellifluous). You search for its source
in the double-almond of those eyes beyond
memory - like an icon from Trebizond
or the sound of a nervous horse
in love with the whole race (spread
over the sloping breast of earth-
buried bricks). Woman of the South,
Sheba from Nile head-
waters, angel next door. Evening
monotone (universal groan). Cosmic
longing springs from the tropic
Amazon - her hair tendrils an unseen
planet; there the contemplative
urchin sets his paper vessel free
to echo in the stream of memory.
Horses, muses, stream, give, give.