By the Somme, a century ago
a sum of desolations.
I had a visitation
in a dream last night. Harsh old
Uncle Ezra – driven mad
by madness, muttering
disenchanted elegiacs (sadness
in my head). After the trenches
he would pit force
‘gainst greedy Usura –
high-boot it over squamous stenches,
inky pyramids of mental fright.
Let your barefoot Daphne
skip the alfalfa
down the nave then, rancid knight;
your whisper’s contrapuntal now
through salty reeds (remorse).
Francesca’s creaking hearse
in Rimini. Cracked limestone brow.
Our errand in the labyrinth
is brief, & mostly blind.
The mirror is unkind
to the unkind. A little terebinth
will slake its thirst, where lofty elms
once reigned; our monarch
is lowly – yet in his park
wings fan that once were casket-worms.