Advice From A Distance Is Easy To Give

Mid-battle, blood splattering at your unclad feet
And bodies, bodies clattering and falling all about
Like sacrificial cattle, the meat
That until their widow-weaving rout’s
Complete cannot restore a balance;
Not for gout-struck gods within their office –
(At least Hephaestos had his talents),
Until every conscript’s coppiced.
Every time the slaughter passed
Behind a scurry, I heard your pains;
Though I was chained abroad and forced
By watchful seaborne banes
To whittle down an intervening year,
Then in those shadows still
I felt your tendons ache, your mettle near
Its breaking place – courageous spirits fill
The cage as courting birds
Are bred to rage – I catch your sweat
In unsent heralds, hear words
Of panic and sentences dismantled – and yet
Triumph’s in your comforting return;
I soak your sombre brow at night,
Coax you in your sleeping flight to burn,
For triumph’s trailing all we fear to fight.

[JV-2]

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