Perpetual reminders are the traditions
Binding and marking our psyches and seasons;
And laws are traditions high courts physicianed;
A laying down of markers for the bystanders
Bound to deliver, the claggy teeth of warlords tighten,
Their thunder as light as silk sending on judgments,
Their opprobrium fashioned components handed like
Olympian batons, relayed, electric,
Revolving through universes unproven.
And superstitions are the traditions
Painted and served with black underbellies,
A rote in the morning for magpies who listen
With incredulity, or a singular day and a date
The lawmakers made important, its juxtaposition,
Its axis a crack in a wall, a portal, a function;
Mistletoe on an old door frame and a horseshoe hung
The wrong way round, pouring away the luck
Of republics. All because someone else
In distant lands said something well
Which cast a spell; these then are the temples
Of centuries-olf dead cooks, who died
While wearing robes of red and scarves of gold.
Desist then from the lights, now filtered again
Through the prism of momentary ambassadors
For money, for time; ignore the lovely stories
Written in their calligraphies and monuments;
Choose a route that reaches your new glory.
In battle, those old men took off their pristine wigs
To lay a path across the tossed torsos of the fallen.
I woke from a dream, and said nothing.