Long Nights of Sleep

In this plank strewn world
Where Periclean procrastinations dawdle on the line
Between meaning and a dowdy old cottager
Toting a shotgun, yelling at the well of life
To stop spewing forth
New children, to give him a break, a moment to breathe.

Where a blues rhythm teeters on the edge of madness
Simmering like tea that doesn’t want to boil
Adjusted for the height of a mountain top retreat
Where hermits and tourists take pictures of each other
Under the white of snowy peaks and cherry trees
Looking down on them like immaculate nuns,
Proud of their students.

Some old jazz standard plays before the marching columns
Of a new Caesar leading them off to war in a click-clack march
Some new peace protesters flare up,
Excited by the prospect of entertainment and purpose
And mothers keep their boys at home
Or try to.

Whether or not the cause is just that is what mothers do –
In this world anyway – but in old Sparta
a Son coming home from the field of play unbruised
Might be sent back out to challenge some god or demon
To a fight, or a ladder’s climb
To sail some wretched sea where dragons dwell
And sirens seduce pirates to their long nights of sleep.

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