Bodiam Castle (on the eve of the Iraq War)
by Michael Brett

The castle guards nothing now but summer:
Standing knee-deep in its moat, silent, like a fisherman
Among its lily pads, its frogs, its willow trees
And buzzing biplane dragon flies.

Through the yellow oblong arrow slits and doorless doorways
You can see them all, like impressionist paintings,
The flowers and the fish ruffling the ancestral lace
At the throat of evening.

This afternoon, the helmet, the longbow
And the hands that fed them were lost, forgotten
Like the pollen of petrified forests;
Like swords in a lake.

But tonight, look down from the tower at the headlights:
The army convoys wink and are gone
And-above us-fighter jets like Bolsheviks in a Russian palace
Leave snowy footprints in the corridor air;

And everything that seemed so straight, so true,
Was just the prelude to some imperial theme
Where a triumphant Othello kills not just his wife.

Copyright © 2012 - Michael Brett
Published: 5/10/12   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem