Thursday, July 17, 2008

Poem: Visiting London with an American Boyfriend

xxThe parliament of fools in session: we
are new republics freed from monarchy.
One man may be an MP, and so may
another, as a day succeeds a day,
not as a son, but as a term of light
both after and before the close of night.
You call that man a Representative
whose babel tongue, creaturely and creative,
transforms a people’s will into their laws,
amending constitutions when there’s cause.
xxRepublicans, outside the residence
of royal pomp and London circumstance,
we watch the changing of the palace guard,
and see the toys we thought we lost returned.
They come back with the force of all we lost—
queen mother, nursery, Sunday pot roast—
pictures that grow more valuable with age,
fading the massacres, disease, and rage.
xxBut if we give the past memory’s due,
let it not take the future hostage too,
for both of us, adolescent and child,
cried out in a nightmare terror, wild
for a soft bosom or a gentle word,
and welcomed as a parental safeguard
oily-tongued, bloody-deviced tyranny.
How well I know that officious nanny.
She bankrupts dissent. Citizens she fines.
Once whipped a boy for stealing traffic signs.
xxGreater your years of blood and liberty,
you watch the palace with an amused eye—
too vigorous to be symbolic native,
but ready to be representative—
and put the past back in its proper place,
behind the fancy gates, then behind us.

1 comment:

Eshuneutics said...

Nicely put.
More Dryden than Pope...buy mainly you.
Best wishes.