Picture a yacht
Canting at speed
Over ripple-ribbed sand.
Change its mast to a man,
Change its boom to a bow,
Change its sail to a shield:
Breasting the whalebacks to picket the corpse of Patroclus.
An ostentatiously new Administration
is fouling its grave with every as-
signation that splits it wide open,
every lifting of every previous mask.
Its headlong leaps into catastrophe
fly beyond diverting, to arresting.
Panic and its chaos are foretold.
It isn't how wrong we were at Troy.
It's how we inherit its precedents.
The ink isn't dry on the country's
divorce from reality and already a
pall of burning waste engulfs her,
our tinpot czar of trash entertain-
ing Putin's Bonaparte on a raft of
tweets from Tilsit.
An Account of Books 1-4
and 16-19 of Homer's Iliad
The Noonday Press
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997©
Simon Sebag Montefiore
1613 - 1918
Scene 6: The Duel
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2016©