All I can say about this poem is that I am fascinated by deep history, and especially Greek and Roman history. I do believe that many mediate the distant past through myth and allegory, and of course our personal narratives. But human nature never changed, and never will.
How willing are the many
who run races they cannot win, to peer
in fashioned sin to sear a rival? How joyfully
to greet a friend, send enemies to unknown fates?
How early must we really be in order never, ever,
to be late?
Who will tell the fool to pack it in, say:
“Leave it, leave it now” as the gathering crowd
grows restless, or grim,
and disorder gathers its harvest in?
A bay and horseman stand against a lowering sky
as dusk approaches, and the silent peregrines fly.
We fail by degree, inadvertence a passing phase
when age asserts its creeping dominion
and the strong grow weak, as warm beds grow cold.
In a Roman forum centurians sweat and swear,
and catch their breath while younger men
dance the swords of death;
heads cast low, the aged warriors pause,
let their creased eyes drown in ancient scars:
fortune now a fighter's game but far, too far, from home.
In the marketplace a rider walks a blood bay
as traders glance, then trembling look away,
all fighting the urge to flee;
“What the hell,”one murmers, “another sign,
another turn of the key.”