Still Imperial His Laughter

A poem I wrote some 30 years ago, put aside and forgot. Remembered last night in a dream.
The river runs — a stillness
with the city around her
through the city
a stillness at its heart
of trees stripped
shadows from the bank

Here and there a leaf rides clear
water through the branching thicket

A blazing gust
blinds windily — wakes
A presence in the
deeper tempers of this November noon.

A weighted glint of cold
a flashing
an understanding, silent mock

A laughter not of water stalks
across the surface of the stream, chills
the vestal air

Winter, soon.

And near, high
around its dark mass — The Colossus
strides on iron feet
ferric dust, red flakes rusting red
over red leaves everywhere he walks
the laughter goes

withering over the coming snow, spreading
his fine red rust over the white crust of snow

because he is not forest
or the wild hills
neither is he City
— built of love but broken — broken

of forest and the city’s siege, his coronets
crying over midnight seas

Still Imperial, impaler
of the singer and the song

like red snow

he goes

is Death


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