Poem — C K Stead

Washington

(Recalling Horace III 30)

 

Summer arriving late
your poet’s remembering takes him
where marbled Lincoln looked down
the long reflecting water
and you and he, Cynara,
walked and talked three days
over that hallowed ground.

Let me tell you something you know:
while satellites were reading
the innocence of your lips
Caesar in his White House
was enlisting yet more legions
for memorials in stone.

That was the heart of Empire
which Time, in time, must teach
the flavour of defeat.

So remind your poet, Cynara,
he has no need of brass
nor the brashness of marble.
Libitina will crush him,
but words outlive the mind
that sets them free.

 

C K Stead

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