Ode to Poets (as a last resort)

by Maureen Almond

(after Horace Ode 1.2 ‘Iam satis terris’)

Thundering boots have echoed round us twice
and once a man, by stretching out his arm,
stirred such an angry storm the whole world shook.

A fragile, stuttering king coughed over rubble
while fear took root and countries changed their shapes.
Though Vestas kept fires burning hearths were lost.

More recently a bolt out of the blue,
made ivory towers collapse. The city fell.
Our sixty years of nearly-calm was past.

We talk of valour, right and friendly fire
supposedly to make us feel less dead.
Our texted, unsaid love-words float on dust.

What sort of God can let us fight like this?
A tender god could quickly spike our heels
with love and turn us all away from war.

Who else is there to trust except our poets?
And if there’s use in art, what better use
than civilizers writing protest verse?