The Wall in Iraq

A scene, called “Peace”, from the so-called “Standard of Ur”.

[My first blog post, back in 2009, was a far different version of the poem below. I removed it from the site when I started blogging again in 2013, and had no plans to revisit it. But for some reason, more than six years after I first wrote it, I have started writing it again—and have made it much shorter if not much else.
          So, gentle poem, welcome back to the internet. (And great Achilles will be sent once more to Troy!)]

The deepest past’s mere meters down,
a lot of dust no doubt to those
who made it, but even ground
this trodden—boots, bare soles—
is air to a bomb.
A wall that rose,
and was buried in time,

rises again, its surface glass-
like rock, blue as movie-star-eyes.
The weathered ones whose hands glossed
the standing stone, like skies
over Ur long watched
for sterile signs
of things to pass, have passed.

Colours, populous in nature,
do not penetrate the iris,
but glass can well invade her
eyes, two dirt-red pebbles
smoothed by salt water.
Something happens
with life, some stray contour

around the side of natural
beauty shakes its skin and crumbles
into want. A thimbleful
of chancing chemicals
falls in a careful
mess, carelessness
diluting the dead-still,

slow-dying purity of rock.
The girl picks lapis lazuli
from her eyes. Fired up and dropped,
the shrapnel of history
shattered her sight. Stop.
Do not worry.
Even walls cannot last.

For God and Crusty

What can the nationalist reply
When reptile naturalists imply
That even mighty Urland’s glory,
Like a mite, is transitory?
The nationalist may one day turn
Quasi-geologist and spurn
Volcanically each rival plate
That preaches its own pompous fate.
“Is it not just that Urmagnia,
Upper crust of old Pangaea,
Ought to rule the lithosphere?—
It’s blessed by God! And Wegener!”
But patriot, however exotic
The limit of your own tectonic—
Though it usurp the uniplace—
Everything is just a phase!

Bucolic I

Tityrus lounges in the shade,
Bees lullaby the sleepy glade,
The reed sings soft, soft as the grass—
Then Meliboeus comes to pass,
Sour Meliboeus and his goats,
Their grumblings putting ends to oats.
         Thus always when one feels pastoral
         Comes some exile with his quarrel.

Couplets (“By protean means propinquity/Inspires not range but unity”)

Though you draw first by chemotaxis,
Perfume is not all your praxis:
Boundless breathings enter me,
And other atoms splinter me,
And rustlings nestle in my ear
Before hair pricks my atmosphere,
And twin eyes spool me up like twine
Till magnet motion moors the spine
And thorns of being stop each pore—
My skin says there is room for more,
And reeling with each fresh impact
Our two expanding worlds contract.

Bits for a Hot and Cold July

Chocolate
All the chocolate in my father’s shop
Melted that Irish heat-wave week into
Small-scale magmatic floods the window
Pelted with heat in unrelenting drop
Drop by softening drop they unformed all
Into ruination and my father pelted
Windowless-wrappered bars into the small
Shop fridge to be newly unmelted

Remains
The ice desires to flow and be
Water again (the cold remains);
It’s frozen still, though almost in
That shape it had when lately free

a swan skein breaks the water

a swan skein breaks the water spanish arch
cloudy corrib like the dog’s tail sweeping
our legs paddle the air in idle arcs
dangling from the edge above foam leaping
foam spitting white at feathers’ dirty-white
slipping like dream-thoughts back into the mass
the cloudy corrib falling like the night
toward the bay the ocean into gas
gas rising sun-pulled into day and cloud
cloud trembling gas into soft mists or hail
once cloudy corrib whispering or loud
speckling earth water feather leg and tail
soaking and sinking in each upturned face
restlessly resting in each passing place

An Ode on Facebook

[Just Poems has just joined Twitter! To celebrate I post this poem about that other well-known social media site.]

You who enjoy the famed pastoral form
Might like this ode on Facebook, blue and warm.

Swift-dawning springtime field! Webpage, wake up!
Ads open in the screenlight, banners drop
Their soothing symbols onto thirsty eyes,
The keyboard chirps its song, the keen mouse flies.
All through the logged-in woodland bees of code
Buzz, hum and bumble with their data-load
And links like pixelated pollen spread,
Filling the air with stories to be read;
And fertile flocks of updates too take flight
On wings of whimsy, singing of delight
In this online demesne, ambrosia-sweet,
Where victory’s not diluted with defeat.

Sing, Site. What’s new? Achilles brave checks in:
“In Troy with Ares #forthewin”;
Crafty Odysseus, wand’ring near and far,
Stops for a craft beer at a hipster bar;
The urban muses raise their photo-herds—
A thousand pictures paint a million words;
Orpheus shares some blogger’s quote profound,
A cropped snapshot of nature the background;
This nymph you worked with once, but don’t know well,
Is pregnant and is showing off the swell.

Ah friends are they not grand, these selfie-ish feeds
That crown with glory’s garland sheepish deeds?
And can’t pitch-perfect profiles spurn the shade
And pipe forever on where no flowers fade?
Or are the cows for crueler climates meant?
What is it haunts this forest, Harvard-sent?
Do doubt, barbarian of foreign breed,
And thought, that exiled, poking, choking weed,
Rob us of depth as buckets drain a well
When they discard fair fashion like a shell?
Are storms foretold in CPU-fan wind?
What does the freezing of the page portend?
Ah stream of duck-loud nonsense, honey-thick,
Is it that life is ended in a click?

Old death goes viral in remotest glade
And cares not for nor spares your proud parade.