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To Rhyme With Love and other Poems

in Poetry by

TO RHYME WITH LOVE

Of senators and popes and such small fry

—Edna St. Vincent Millay

It’s not for nothing Plato banished poets
from his republic. The Attic sky hadn’t rained
in months. Catfish crawling in the sewers
with rats among dead dogs. Neither oracle
nor god had advice worth more than rust
on a sword’s hilt, on monuments crumbling
in dry air, as we paced the cobblestones and
preached austerity, but those rhyme mongers,
crowned with laurel, raised sails toward some
island in the sick-green, tiring sea in search
of a new word to rhyme with love, as if
abandonment was solution, so that we,
the elders, build the future from the past
and disregard those poets exiled and
wandering in labyrinths of words.


HOW THE CONQUERORS SETTLED

Athens’s Archeological Museum
It is well known the Romans coveted
the bodies of Greek statues, the way a discus
thrower’s carved back bulges and sways
against the immovable horizon, the soft
curve of Aphrodite’s marble breasts, her dress
rippling to stone toes about to lift in dance,
but mostly they envied the grace of shoulders,
of buttocks soothing the ragged hills and
the rigid columns as the unforgiving summer
sun was leached of its harshness
by holy arm and calf muscles shadowed
on the parched ground, so that, as victors
settling into the next Hellenic city,
they removed the Greek heads and set atop
those worthy necks the stony brows of
Caesars and Hadrians, masters of all,
as long as they conquered a body
to mount their ambitions on.

Gary Metras is a native of western Massachusetts where he still lives. He is a retired educator, having taught middle school, high school, and college. His poems have appeared in such periodicals as Gray’s Sporting Journal, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Poetry, Poetry East. He is the editor and letterpress printer of Adastra Press, which specializes in handcrafted chapbooks of poetry. He is also a fly fishing enthusiast. His new book, Captive in the Here, is due from Cervena Barva Press in 2014.

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