His military haircut one wax fin
Of dolphin   –   but his grin a basking shark’s

Torino tugs his helmet on   –
A bronze bull-headed balaclava

Distanced in its visor
His eyes grow olive-dark   –

Man is an ugly creature
Perhaps the most perverse upon this planet

Kind? Oh yes sometimes
He kills his very kind

In political philosophy
Finding funds of justification

Yet when he lifts that martial mace
All his mother sees   –

A precious curious infant
Carrying a reed




Long-gone crowds who gazed on gore
In awe to Roman Circus entertainment

In our day howl then hurl their underwear
As tokens of more civilised refinement



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer





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