a poem in stone

a poem in stone,
a ship aground upon
a rocky shore,
shades of troy,
salamis,
epidamnus and corcyra.

sail, oar and cutting prow
i found you,
yelping seas and scudding sky,
saw you in my mad minds eye,
granite paean to the warlike
daughters of syracuse,
here so long ago.

pheidippides i ran,
while i could still run,
with news that
i would never be so young,
so invincible again,
and to send reinforcements
before the day was lost.
but no spartan came,
with hoplites lean,
phalanx agleam,
but this one poor
luckless wrack
riding the rocks,
breaking its back,
upon my imaginary
dardanelles.

head full of thucydides,
of agamemnon and his
achaean hordes,
what else would i see
in this drop of geolithic time,
but a foundering trireme
hauling hard
against that etched,
and blood-red
murderous shore?

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