Old Man of Concrete


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
corrections, versing
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.


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