Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Scipio

The Mediterranean stretched before him.
In smouldering scuttled hulks, the enemy fleet
lay dead, once pride and pest
of that placid main. The heat
troubled him; he felt oppressed.
And the land held nothing for him.

His eyes roved over the waste. All round,
death rose in listless wisps of smoke: its reek
would drape history like a shroud.
Turning, he gazed awhile on his salt streak,
that runnel of ruin he had ploughed
to neuter this obstinately fecund ground.

Tired, he faced northwards again, and home.
His eyes briefly brimmed. No unlettered lout,
his mind hovered on distant Troy,
and saw in a poet’s dirge to a rout
no cause for a victor’s joy,
but a lament for his own beloved Rome.

***

6 comments:

Dan Husain said...

Scipio was an exhilarating mix of poetry, history, legend, fiction and visual imagery. Superbly crafted and a treat in every sense.

Pragya said...

If my teachers had taught me history in verse like this I would have been enchanted! History lessons wouldn't have been an avoidable chore!

Blue Athena said...

Vivid imagery and an awesome string of narrative!

Rhymebawd said...

I don't know. I like this and yet there is something that prevents me from being wholeheartedly appreciative. Something about the rhythm, or maybe the word selection? Like I said, can't put my finger on it :-/

Dan Husain said...

Ok! Thats an interesting observation Rhymebawd. Comment Mr. Poet!

SPECKLED_BAND said...

This is tantalising, Rhymebawd! I've run it through the proverbial f-t c, but drawn a blank! Nothing here to bring the blush of shame, so to speak, as Wodehouse would say!