I forgot to say, it had slithered under the mind,
Before, back then, at the top of the tower, two small flames,
Or lights, signalling to a misty further down – beacons of Napoleonic coming,
‘Ware Frenchies, or as mundane as the bell-hop summoned –
Which had signalled back.
To the great repository of wisdom, I now applied:
—What was that?
—You should be able to see what it is,
Unless still hidden by the marsh gas.
What? Sublimity obscured by the filthy exhalations of daily life,
Is this where we are again?
One could get tired of allegory.
Laser light, or any light, not faster, a speeding bullet
Never faster from the peacebringer’s carbine,
Than this skimming craft and its single steersman,
Carving an outboard white snail in the shallows as it loops in,
Its engine cut to nothing. And Phlegyas:
—Got you! Thought you’d escape, did you?
Gleeful. But, patiently, Virgil:
—No, we’re not part of the scheme,
You’re only here to take us across,
And you’ll have us for that long, no more.
At which, he wasn’t delighted.