First new poem in a while

On the Rationing of Cataract Surgery for Pensioners

Justinian – the Devil’s favourite son
a voice that echoed round his palace said –
wished his best friend most loyal general dead.
Mere months before, the armies of the Hun

Had reached the suburbs of Byzantium
and been turned back by veterans and boys.
Saving great cities frequently annoys
a tyrant, who sits chewing on his thumb

while better men and women save the day.
He blinded Belisarius, spared his life,
took his possessions, made him kiss the knife
that took his eyes. Still bleeding, his face gray

from pain, the loyal warrior took his seat
on church steps, begged for pennies in the street.


About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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