At the Ruins of Troy

Achilles stumped about in this dust,
Beneath these walls. Those poppies are less red
Than petals bled by Trojans and Greeks
For Helen and the rest. Priam’s surging lust
Was small beside this rise and fall of land,
The snake of river slipping out to sea,
The Dardanelles, lying at the knee
Of Turkey, a girl stretching on the sand.

The tendons taut or severed on that plain
Were taught to seek and know before the brain
What strength or weakness showed in each grain
Of life blown before the wind of war.
But never mind now – for each jawbone torn
Away are flowers growing by the score.

Izmir, 1963

From Patrick’s collection called poems.odt.