February 16, 2020

“After Thucydides,” Poems by Bruce Robinson

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“After Thucydides,” Poems by Bruce Robinson
After Thucydides  

Read to you my silent poem, 
how does it go? Goes 
without saying, va 
 
sans dire. 
And then someone spoke 
and there was the largest crowd 
 
in history, and a luminous 
array of tariffs 
made us rich again 
 
which after all was our 
pre-existential condition 
before the construction 
 
of our glorious, seguro- 
will-cover-it wall, 
and we learned that 
 
however true it may...be.. 
that truth is something  
intermittent, which is how  
 
some histories are written. 

**

 It’s Your Past Catching Up with You 

 and then your past  
 catches up with you, or tries to, 
 and then your past 
 tries to oscillate your future,  
 or makes a very good effort 
 to be closer than it appears 
 and then you’re past 
 all caring, all over-canvassed 
 tenses meet each other mid-stream, 
 toll your moment, tell your future, 
 and then your past. 

 **

 Dirthivination and The Descent of Man 

 Weak as we are, 
 weak though we may be, 
 the way we fumble with 
 our awkward polities, 
 perhaps we’ll stumble through this, 
 (does there not exist a theory 
 that perhaps we’re all one species 
 beyond the struts and fretting 
 and the cavalier apostasies) 
 and do so without rancor, 
 certainly?  

***

Poetry and fiction by Bruce Robinson has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Australia, Fiction, Pleiades, Common Ground, Woven Tale Press, Dead Mule, and Aji

Fictional Cafe
#poetry#political#religion#Thucydides
2 comments
  • Jonathan M Lloyd says:

    The last poem created a smorgasbord of treasures. I was unsure what “dirthivination” was pointing to but I’m guessing a mashup of dearth and divination. Fumbling with awkward polities is a found treasure: where most would just settle on policy or government you sought out something else and found the gem: polity. And then the “cavalier apostasies.” Two words that are as good at summing up human existence as any I’ve seen. And then guided through the maze of uncertainty–weak as we are, with all our apostasies, not even knowing if we are a “we” or an “us” along with all other created beings…we’re left at the end hoping for a less bitter end…a certain uncertain existence. One of the most enjoyable poems I’ve read in a while. Hope this doesn’t sound too much an encomium; I’m just a fan.

  • Jonathan Lloyd says:

    After Thucydides…I *think* I have now met someone who deals in irony as much as I like to (there must be a word meaning “lover of irony” but I don’t know what that is). A poem that is silent; the largest crowd in history (that wasn’t); a country that is now the richest (and was before); history as now something other than truth-telling. That is what I am seeing, at any rate. “Seguro-will-cover-it” wall I take as the Spanish term for insurance, and using Mexico to “cover” our costs, so Mexico is the insurer here–though I have to say in my mind I picture some vine covering the whole ugly wall and returning it to nature, but that’s my own spinning of the language. I’ve spent all my time on the first poem and now can move on to the next two. Glad to have found you, and the site, too.

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