A grove once sacred to Apollo
Hacked and levelled to a cart-track
A short-cut now for canny merchants
Anxious to convey their wares to Rome
Ahead of all competitors

In this medicinal garden
Leaves adulterated
By roadside dust long-settled
Mourn their statue of Minerva
Ashamed a grease of shadow veils her lake

Where will it end?
An interlude of enlightened time
Then the world reverts to goblins
Hammering their metallurgic spells
Into a conjoined disregard
Of vastly over-populated cities
Climbing ever higher from the earth
While her rituals of renewal all recede

Functional focus on markets
Faith in social hygiene
Culminating only from fierce measures
Means designing ever-robust economies
And these demand a more realistic myth
To formulate a science-based society

Which we will never live to see
Nor shall we be remembered



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer






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