Vicisti
........ after Swinburne

You've mastered us all, market forces.
The world has grown grey with your breath.
As strict as the stars in their courses
that twinkle disaster and death

you rule that our old ways are ended
that justice is balanced on sheets,
tradition and trust are suspended
and charity begs on the streets.

We must sail where the sirens are calling
across the impersonal flood:
"Tomorrow in futures is falling,
get out while the going is good."

So peasants in faraway places
go empty and cold in their bones
when hard-eyed young men with red braces
shout numbers down portable phones.

-------------------------

© Brian Fewster,
Published in Staple 43, Winter 1998

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