Lawrence Durrell

(1912 - 1990 / Nepal)

Acropolis


The soft quem quam will be Scops the Owl
conjugation of nouns, a line of enquiry,
powdery stubble of the socratic prison
laurels crack like parchments in the wind.
who walks here in the violet dust at night
by the tower of the winds and water-clocks?
tapers smoke upon open coffins
surely the shattered pitchers must one day
revive in the gush of marble breathing up?
call again softly, and again.
the fresh spring empties like a vein
no children spit on their reflected faces
but from the blazing souk below the passive smells
bread urine cooking printing-ink
will tell you what the sullen races think
and among the tombs gnawing of mandolines
confounding sleep with carnage where
strangers arrive like sleepy gods
dismount at nightfall at desolate inns.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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