An eye for now and one for what's to be
define in depth a vision none believes.
When both are open how it hurts to see

the peerless Hector buckling on his greaves!
Like an infection on her skin she feels
the prickling of the prophecy, perceives

what time's forbearance from the rest conceals:
that glow of power and virtue and desire
flayed raw behind Achilles' chariot wheels.

She turns at night upon a funeral pyre
and wakes to meet the certainties she dreads,
but when she tries to warn of how the fire

will blacken shambled streets and blood-soaked beds,
or share the consequential grief and pain,
the corpses smile and tap their bloated heads

in mimic sympathy: "She's off again."


© Brian Fewster,
Published in Poetry from Leicestershire, 1999

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