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(Their clay brigade; National Geographic Museum, 2010)

About them strange quiet

muffled as snow. Hard-eyed,

hard-handed, they gaze towards

horizons past -- topknots, quilt jackets

two thousand years in earth

in ground not of it; on watch.

Still you can hear their picket fires

the nicker of that high-necked horse;

a rasp of bronze; cooks’ slap-paddled

preparation of cold predawn meals.

Again, the dragons’ teeth; again

an armored army rising from

plowed soil to feathered drums. Is that

the root of their hypnotic spell,

those soft beats pulsing back to Greece?

or that an ancient presence waits –

a patient, alien, stone-faced East?

The Federal Poet (Vol. LXXI, No. 2), Fall 2013

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