The Folly: Romans (first Tattersby)

Posted by ractrose on 4 May 2021 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of man in aviator's helmet




The Folly








We thought they were not men

They, beardless, most, but for their slaves

Vaunted trophies keeping costumed show

That in all weathers tell their vanquished homes

Came by war-engine attended

Came regaliaed steed, foreguard of chariot

Wheeled cage of sacrificial beast

Gentled by their magic; all these mounted ones,

Their faces red-scorched by their foreign sun

That we, beneath our clouds, did palely gaze upon

The marching men in their stepping ranks

The drums

Shields they bore, dressed in gold and silver

Their tents amassed behind the waters

Banners staked, that our eyes would see

Stories told

Of burning men on cross-braced pillars

Conquered foes

You see, M. de Clieux…though I have set my mind

To learn the English speech

A picture and a pointing hand tell much

Our father, Dodtha, met his chiefs in council…


‘Pardon.’ He lifts his pencil.

‘Father of your blood, or tribe…and do you give a name

Or title…?’

‘Awful news!’ The guest arrives. He sees de Clieux dismayed.

‘Ah! You’d found her. I apologize. But had you heard

about the aeroplanes?’

As is the habit with enthusiasts

The host and guest come bustling in confabulation

Collision in mid-air, but did you hear

The witness swears one plane had seemed to veer…

To yaw—ahem—I think that is the term

Woman pilot, three thought deceased…

Blethering, who comes to do the place

And serve the lunch

Enters wheeling

Welsh rarebit, onion soup, hot tea

de Clieux breaks off his conversation once again

To Blethering’s eyes, the Frenchman speaks to air

And this is why she will not do the place

Except the host is there




Pastel drawing of foggy landscape with stone wall and airplane shadow

A Conduit: Second Tattersby












(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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