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Poetry: History

 

Constantine

At dusk, I turn west.    Courtiers,
encumbered by velvet and laden with
metals and precious stones, drag
in langourous train, shuffling and
tinkling like the interminable cloak
of an Oriental princess.
                        At the tower,
I unclasp them.  They fold to the floor
with ponderous patience.  I ascend,
old, but not feeble, in soft sandals
which mark the height to which I,
alone, have risen.
                       Over the forests,
an invincible sun smoulders, bound
in crimson and decorated with fire
and fine jewels.      The trees
throw down their shadows like weapons:
blackness surges with the sea.
Over the forests, the invincible sun
withdraws behind the burden of night,
and an onerous retinue of stars.

Two sons look back at me:  I
cannot recall their eyes.  The third,
with his mother, is dead. And I, athwart
this labyrintine city, survey that
which I shall leave to them --
an ocean, forests, temples and ruins,
golden roads, a dying Sun.
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