J. B. Hogan – Three Poems

Empire Reborn

Follow the trail, track the path,
go down that road, take the Appian way.
All roads lead back to Rome, and further still
to the city states of Greece.

Track it forward again, follow the path:
Athens to Rome, mighty Rome,
weakened by Cross, overrun by Vandal, terrorized by Hun,
lost for centuries, nearly forgotten in time.

Reborn then in Europe, England, Ireland, too,
spread through church, through ages dark and cold.
Mixed with Norman, Gaul, and Gael,
still onward reaching, still ocean crossing.

At last the new world all roots entwine,
building the next world, the empire reborn.

**

Eroding Lions

Lion guards framing tall stairs,
outstretched legs inflexible,
ivory-hued haunches marble-frozen, massive.

Protectors of the once great edifice
uprisen beyond visitor’s horizon,
wide, vertical, significant.

Now the unused halls reverberate
with rare echoes of unexpected
heels on tile.

Few come now,
few take the time;
all that remains of interest
are the guards, the lions.

Lions bracing the entrance,
rigidly passive, their slow erosion
an observable token
of diminished purpose for that
which lies beyond, behind;
near forgotten moldy stacks –
a treasure poignantly unremembered,
unimaginably to be lost.

**

Your Little Rabbi

I wanted to like your little rabbi
but you insisted he was something
that he wasn’t;
an alien, more than a man.

And those books, those stories:
tales that couldn’t happen,
tales that didn’t happen.

It was always such a plain story, too,
one that needed no lies,
no embellishment.

A story fine the way it was;
needing no rework, no fantasies, no silly myths;
the story of a real man, an honest man of principle.

A man who refused the weakness of his own day,
a man who died unfairly,
killed and reborn falsely,
by the willful ignorance of man.

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