Canto 5: The Birth of Rome

Mighty men of valour, men train’d for battle, who could handle shield & spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, & were as swift as gazelles on the mountains. Chronicles 12:8


And in the visions of romantic youth,
What years of endless bliss are yet to flow!
But, mortal pleasure, what art thou in truth!
Thomas Campbell

Not setting sun, not rosy-finger’d dawn,
Nor ocean’s pearl; not breezy mountain air,
Not spider-spun, nor lazy summer lawn,
Could e’er to this temptressy smile compare;
Her wide-sought hand
Won by the Spartan king,
Many a Grecian band gifts to their wedding bring.

From vinegar festivities
Paris woo’d her to one side,
Venus entwining destinies
As this hot, bedswerving bride
Sings lush, erotic melodies,
Sucking his love inside –
Afterwards, all glamour’d with enchantment,
Thro’ spacious halls their silent footsteps went.

Moonsphere makes webbings in the waves,
Men row a ship to sea –
As future craves the golden graves
Of immortality,
These sweethearts, silken-sheeted, milk the teats of exstasi.

Aegean Sea

Fall of Troy

Of all the streets that blur in to the sunset,
There must be one (which, I am not sure)
That I by now have walked for the last time
Jorge Luis Borges

Hard upon the western fringe of Asia
Arks disembark Agamemnon’s command,
The awe-struck Trojans gaze down in terror,
An enemy encamped upon the sand;
Twyx gate & shore
Shall flow a bloody scene,
Full decade fraught with war fought for that gorgeous queen.

Noble are men of Achaea,
Amidst armies swarming bees,
Like Dardanian Aeneas,
Armipotent Achilles,
The High King, Salaminia,
& striking Ulysees,
Them into flock of falcon-men enfuse –
Now Menaleus dreams a daring ruse

As gods affect the mortal course
& fate is fickle starred,
A wooden horse (with secret force)
Slow wheel’d to a courtyard –
“The war is over,” sing the crowds… the gates, that night, unbarr’d.


Wanderings of Aeneas

Where even defeat has pride.
And nothing can vanquish this ancient nation,
That knows how to dance with such ardor and will
Gevorg Emin

As swollen rivers rampage pitiless,
Wreak havoc-streams & damage thro’ the fields,
Thro’ palaces, pillars & piazzas
Terrific waves of flashing bronze & shields;
Stone torn from stone,
Burst Ilium in flames,
Blood-lusty killing zone of dust & screams & names.

Day draws a veil across the night,
Vital Aeneas survives,
Keen eyes reflect his guiding light,
Men offer’d him their lives,
Commingling with his muckle might
Their weapons, wisdom, wives;
Sat watching citadels crash on the town
Like mountain ashes farmers’ knives hack down.

Sailors plough thro’ plague & terror,
Beyond the Strophades,
Past Ithica, Sicilia,
On thro’ Phoenecian seas,
Blown to holy Ausonia upon a Latin breeze.


House of Aeneas

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die
Lewis Carroll

From Trojan blood hath sprung Ascanius,
Whose Alba Longa rises amidst hills,
A city gifted to young Silvius –
Him born amidst the whistling woodland rills;
We druids sing
Of consanguinities,
The catalogues of kings, the sacred monarchies.

Wee Silv grew manly, died, then came
Aeneas & Latinus,
Atys & Alba shar’d their fame
With Capys & Capetus,
Emerald Tiber wins its name
As poor Tiberinus
Drowns while crossing ancyent Albula;
“This flow my father’s shrine!” sings Agrippa,

Who was a wise & wondrous king,
Begetting Romulus,
Him by lightning was slain, his ring
Given Aventinus,
Whose tomb enclos’d by fragrant blooms upon slopes stupendous.

The Aventine Hill

Rape of Rhea

A small face like mine
Can be fully covered
By my two palms
Chong Chi-Yong

Amulius usurps Numitor’s throne,
Murders his nephew cloak’d & clandestine,
Then to prevent avengers being born,
Chains up his niece to serve him vestal wine;
Such treachery!
Full KARMA to restore,
.To that sinful city Zeus sent a paramour…

Mars crept within fair Rhea’s room
Upon soft-feather’d sandals,
In tirpid, shade-seducing gloom,
By silks & censor’d candles;
His vibrant seed invades the womb
As when warring Vandals
Would ravage Italy – him so divine,
She tasted nirvana, arching back her spine.

Abandoning the ravishing
Mars left a tragic tayle,
Days fluttering from Fall to Spring
Towards her pregnant grail,
When she shall be Philomele & then the Nightingale.

Alba Longa

Romulus & Remus

Those of the poets who were passing
would be found about your greensward;
far & wide have travellers spread your fame
Eachann Bacach

Twin babies born, raging Amulius,
Murders the mother, orders their demise,
Them left to die by Tiber, quite helpless –
Lone she-wolf hears their effervescent cries,
& licks their heads
‘Til pure-soul shepherd comes,
To take them to soft beds, where, sucking on wee thumbs,

Faustalus rais’d them wisely couth,
Behidden from destiny
Time drew them on to manly youth,
Fate drag back to the city,
Old Numitor could see the truth,
Hugging them happily;
“Grandfather… sire… we shall resume thy reign,”
Eftsoons their wicked uncle ran right thro’!

KARMA descending tends the crime,
Dress’d in a saffron gown,
Fate’s paradigm, from scarlet slime
Twins lift a silver crown,
& set it on its rightful brow before the shell-shock’d town.

Alba Longa

Death of Remus

We are sons of the same mother
The same origin and kind
Like two joined pines
Vasile Alecsandri

Twin brothers burning with the purple urge
To build a prosp’rous city of their own,
Certain Quirini join this questful surge
With cattle trains & tools to hack the stone;
They reach the hills
Old Faustulus called home,
To name it causes ills, a Remo or a Rome?

We’d better let the Gods decide –
Tutelary augury!”
Each settl’d his each own hill-side,
In the wait for Mercury,
Oer Remulus six vultures glide
This seem’d priority,
But not long aft, above the Palatine
Twelve vultures fly, cries Remulus, “A sign!”

Inveighing quickly, thick words shoot,
Bickers flickering flame,
Thro’ fierce dispute none could refute
The other brother’s claim,
Til Romulus draws scimitar of fratricide & fame!


Rape of the Sabines

The world for her was turned all upside down
in her grief for her gray falcon brother.
She could never overcome her sorrow
Petar II Petrovic Njegos

How fair art thou, virgin Capillia,
Atop an oxen train parting the plain,
Aiming for the festive consualia
Rome has declar’d about great Neptune’s fane;
To laugh & play
With spirited Sabine,
She joins that joyous day, eats hearty, quaffs cool wine.

This falsified extravagance
Sunder’d by the long, conch-blast;
As amaryllids left to chance
& sex-starved brigand outcast,
She tried to flee this grotesque dance –
Her father watched aghast,
Each Roman had a mistress in his eye,
Toxeus took his to a crimpling cry.

Comes Romulus, with bloody knife,
“Your name?” “Capillia!”
“You’ll be his wife to save the life
Of your decent mother,
Who shall be kept at Cares til ye’ve acquiesc’d together.”


Sabine War

Star-shine and darkness are blended
as we gather with those we hold dear.
And the Light is present among us
Katy Phillips

Men of angry Caenina primed to rise,
Rome’s outskirts fill with standards one fine day;
Romulus narrowing jaguar eyes,
Commands his soldiers grandly to the fray;
Bold champions
Made contact stone-on-stone,
Under breathless paeans the Romans gave a groan.

As winds opposing contest war
Thro’ heaven’s arching reaches,
Men leapt thro’ murder’s gory jaw
With all its morbid features,
Spears dripping blood & sable gore,
Gurgoyles in the breaches –
But what is this adash thro’ shafts of spears?
Tis women! Interstitial! In tears!

Husbands! Fathers! Sons! & Brothers!”
War paused its awful wheel,
“We are mothers, we are lovers!
Aye, love ‘tis that we feel!”
As weapons drop two nations merge, so urgent the appeal.


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