The principle of the sword was benign & frozen
an ice-word     or presiding ray gone into deep night
or frost mantle     like wool over our eyes
at the inaugural     horizontal     curved like a mirror
a vertigo spiral     the principle of the sword
cuts clean     & swallows its tale of America

A palm leaf divided the sky &
lined the donkey road to the contested city.

But I shall always be faithful unto you, dogwood
though I was untrue     like a bad American shepherd
weak & hysterical     in a dead decade's light
it's just     the principle of the sword     that tries
like a royal finger
to blot out all those memoirs     made of sighs

Henry Gould | Island Road 17
Contents | Mudlark No. 6