A sketchy reflection in the smoked window,
less bright than the Roman virtues that
stand around the chair and glare
back at the glass.
Down in the windy park the leaves all turn
over at the same time — it’s the climate
explaining the weather to the workers.
It’s like this:
apart from the isotherms repeating themselves
like a patient discussing with her dentist
composite amalgams and the price of gold,
there’s also change —
mainly decay, the trees explain, waving to
the mail-boys and the minor librarians and
the ibises busy scavenging among
the lunch wrappers —
it’s a helix, looping down into the dark.
I agree, snores the dozing drunk drawing
to the close of his liver’s long career.
From ancient times
to the technical present most things decline;
only the means of oblivion improve. The laughing
gas whispers yes, in Athens and Alexandria things
were much the same.
© John Tranter