RG (June 1,1965 / Cheltenham, U.K.)

Penetralia

For those who couldn't rock-climb
Roman rents, the museum retained
a bungalow by the almshouses
where Hannah dwelt. Sephardic
in the cloak of baptism,
she dazzled to astronomy
with her cowl of hair, starling-black,
guarding her persimmon
in the deliciousness of just enough
security for the right Adam.
Even in the city's light
pollution she shone like Sirius:
but my interest withered
in the desert glare of her Holy Land.
'Boring', the young bloods called her.
I went back last week
after sixteen years, and slipped through
knocked down palings to windows riot-
shuttered and trash in the garden pond.
We live in an age of hoydens wolfing
flesh the Tartars cooked in their saddles
and throwing remains to the rat's
'carpe diem'. Now tanks probe the night
I fear for Hannah, and hope her Babylon
holds out.

by Richard George

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