Empire

Issue TenIssue Ten PoetryPoetry

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by Vasilka Pateras


 

The rust of empire has crumbled

desiccated flakes float

over once traversed lands 

stocked with wild tribes 

hidden in thicket

entwined with the sprites of nature 

in a tight compact of kinship 

fastened through blood 

partaking from the same cup

 

civilisation built through conquered intent

walls and garrisons foreclosed to clans

disappeared in the smoke of battle

legacies of civic purpose lavish history books

the build of libraries, gymnasium, and lyceum 

to gather and think and question

art, science, the stars

 

did it have to be so bloody?

 

on cobbled stones the hooves of horses can still be heard 

old soldiers’ hunger to lay down swords

Emperors driven by a strident immortality

at the arena

feast on the venison of power 

 

these old ghosts

spur the masses even today

the spears, shields and helmets molten 

with demand

to claim ancient ancestors

 

conflict seeps into tributaries of separation 

around borders and maps

truth covered in the gossamer of revision 

 

there is an echo…