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In the British Museum

ISSUE:  Autumn 1975

UNDER the British grey, the smoked slats of the ceiling,
their rhythm, velocity, elegance
are gathered into time at increasing speed.
The horses whinny, leaping through the Venetian flames.
Ares clasps his knee restlessly, his heel
rests lightly on the spear-shaft.

Everywhere Centaur wrestles Lapith down,
the folds of the peplos wrinkle out more thinly.
My grief reaches out for the clear
crystal, bronze, marble of clear intention.
“The things of which there is seeing and hearing,
these do I prefer,” said Herakleitos.

The eroded faces peer out: the women, the loom-girls,
the chlamys half-blown off the horseman’s body.
The priests, dusty children
move forward through the narrow sunlit frame
and the gods wheel up and down from the sea,
the flaring horseheads sink into the enormous moon.


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