Owed to Byron

Let us go then you and I
to a place where wild woodpeckers fly
beneath a pallid piebald sky

and I – ashamed that I live still –
revise each Wednesday my own will
while you – pert, tall and right now shrill –

emit grace notes that rise and float
outside across our castle’s moat
into a book Lord Byron wrote

or would have, had not Neptune felled
him swimming in the Dardanelles,
or Hellespont. All’s gone. Just as well.

Oncoming night assembles stars
that light our paths. Look, there goes Mars:
sword, sandals, sneer and scenic scars

identify him as the sod
who starts the wars we fight for God
and Country when, succinctly shod,

we march off singing, smiling, chanting
or – if we’re returning – ranting.
The gods adore our gallivanting.

They think we are when panting cute
and we’re of all the things they shoot
their favourites cause like them we loot

and lust, and languish, all the while
imagining we’ve wit and style.
We muddle on. It makes them smile.

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