Ruins by Peter Adair

I am not a silent poet

after William Blake

 

This isn’t a town you’d like to visit.

Arriving one night, I wandered through streets

Whose lights were smashed, I stumbled with the blind.

No guide.  No map.  Wheelchairs, I think, were dumped

in alleys.  Beggars crawled on their knees, squeezing

their plastic cups like rosaries.  One man screamed

for help, but no one came.  I hurried past,

too numbed to care.  And outside an open window

a mother wept for her hungry child

while a drummer thumped out his merciless tune.  He,

at least, was getting high.  Then the window slammed shut,

crushing someone’s fingers, crushing someone’s hopes.

I wandered on through each darkened street

until the sky burned red and howled and cried

and a god, just waking, yawned and fell back asleep.

Like metallic Furies machines clanged clanged clanged

churning out their mind-forged manacles;

blood ran down the factory, the palace walls;

and…

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