The statues in the square are wet and desolate
as the last bus lurches off. Arc-lamps loan
folds of stone robes a harsh sheen. Random clouds
idle past a moon honed to her keenest husk
for one who’d wet his senses on infinity,
any man’s estate. Beside the Cenotaph
a beggar squats, condemned by unanimous backs.
In streets rinsed clean of commerce a man stands
inhaling truth in a stealth of peace, while
stars mustered to his vision witness
the sundered plaques, rocked pedestals,
upheaval and topple, silence and dust.
If a boot turns a chipped head, if diligent
fingers probe and scrape, delicate tools
whittle and prise, and a restored inscription
ascertains the era, will sensitive hands
ever deduce, or the questing mind discern
the cold back erected to beggar and poet?
History, with a fresh victory embalmed,
smiles and resumes the task. Two men stretch,
as a lone taxi prowls irresolutely past
the shadow-dramatised. Stone garments glitter.
Decorum’s still-life circus rules secure.
Rampant clouds straddle the scant moon where she clings.
About this poem
A frescade is a shaded walkway.