Nocturnes: Sunt Lacrimae Rerum

[after Ray Russell's short story, "Ripples";

title from Vergil's poem, The Aeneid, Book I]

 

"The planets of this mediocre star
can be described, at best, as minor, too."
(These obvious descriptions are the sort
the Council likes to read in a report.)
And we have traveled long and very far
for observations of the third one---blue,
small, with one satellite, and full of life
the highest form of which causes fierce strife
against itself, often.  Repeatedly
engaging in renewed self-immolations,
one part will sacrifice their own survival
in order to impose exterminations
upon some other portion, viewed as rival.
Not long ago, I visited a city
of theirs, beseiged (now burning as we speak).
Outside its walls, two or three generations
waited, with eager death wish, to deploy
all their resources, if they could but find
some means of breach.  I was bored:  to enjoy---
for my amusement and at their expense---
a small experiment in comedy,
to energize their stalled beligerence.
I put my thoughts into the cunning mind
of one of their chieftains.  Using their words,
I whispered this brief phrase, "You horse's ass"---
the beast imaged, its anus dropping turds.
He took this, that damn fool, as inspiration,
and started drawing without hesitation.
He led his warriors to construct a version
of this sketch:  huge, hollow, and for coercion
by means of which they should covertly pass
right through the gate that had been an obstruction.
I left before they finished this production.
Enough suffices.  Start the preparations
to launch out.  Notice, as we make our way,
that red glow . . . there . . . that city is aflame.
Odd, how I do not quite recall its name:
let me check in my notes---yes, that is . . . Troy.

 

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