ALL DAY PERMANENT RED (EXTRACT) - James Clerk Maxwell Poems

 
 

Poems » james clerk maxwell » all day permanent red (extract)

ALL DAY PERMANENT RED (EXTRACT)
To welcome Hector to his death
God sent a rolling thunderclap across the sky
The city and the sea
      And momentarily--
The breezes playing with the sunlit dust--
On either slope a silence fell.

  Think of a raked sky-wide Venetian blind.
  Add the receding traction of its slats
  Of its slats of its slats as a hand draws it up.
  Hear the Greek army getting to its feet.

  Then of a stadium when many boards are raised
  And many faces change to one vast face.
  So, where there were so many masks,
  Now one Greek mask glittered from strip to ridge.
  Already swift,

Boy Lutie took Prince Hector's nod
And fired his whip that right and left
Signalled to Ilium's wheels to fire their own,
And to the Wall-wide nodding plumes of Trojan infantry--

  Flutes!
  Flutes!
Screeching above the grave percussion of their feet
Shouting how they will force the savage Greeks
Back up the slope over the ridge, downplain
And slaughter them beside their ships--

  Add the reverberation of their hooves: and
  "Reach for your oars. . ."
T'lesspiax, his yard at 60, sending it
Across the radiant air as Ilium swept
  Onto the strip
  Into the Greeks
  Over the venue where
Two hours ago all present prayed for peace.
  And carried Greece
Back up the slope that leads
  Via its ridge
  Onto the windy plain.

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