"All Saints - November 2011" by Cynthia James
All Saints - November 2011
causa latet vis est notissima - Ovid
the cause is hidden, but its force is very well known
My Dear GPS
You’ve asked me to confirm; thus I assure
the tremors you experience underground
are not the elephants of Hannibal, nor is
Vesuvius the cause. The cacophony awakening
Hades, I’m afraid, and Charon’s frequent trips
across the Styx have quite a different source.
The old girl’s quiescent these past sixty-seven
years. Nonetheless, bombs and fire flashes rain
from up above with pulverizing might, such that
Lower Sirtis mirrors the Pompeii we last saw.
Myriad Homeric and Virgilian versions abound,
but, My Honourable Uncle, since you ask:
Alas! Priam and Hector again were cornered.
the rebels and the rabble both claim triumph;
but all that’s certain (perhaps not in disorder)
is that both were dragged through the streets;
then slain; then photographed for posterity with
V-signs. There were long lines while all rejoiced.
I saw the golden gun;
I heard the berried W-A-A-W;
viewer caution was advised, but old voyeur of our
munera, I watched it all on HD and in 3-D, I might add,
(complicit, some opine, oblivious of our tradition)
from a distance like in that old Gold-Midler song.
But that’s old news in the coliseum -
just like these that I’ll be brief about:
Carthage and Alexandria still under siege;
sorry for so long a letter, but an earthquake
also shook a pilate’s podium while he washed
his hands; in Otta-war as the broadcasters say,
a bunch of crazy people last month chanted
“Arrest George Bush”; serpentine floods
challenge the promise given Noah, wash away
Thailand and Guatemala; even in Paradise,
all man and woman under heavy manners –
curfew in their tail for more than six months.
Yet take comfort; the legacy of Caesar, perhaps
a little rattled, nonetheless, remains intact.
This letter pales compared with multifarious
more illustrious troubadour accounts;
but rest assured, you can depend on me,
My Venerable Uncle, there’s more to come
© Cynthia James, November, 2011
About Cynthia James
Cynthia James is a Trinidadian, living for the past 3 years in Toronto. She writes poetry and fiction and her work can be found in publications such as Callaloo, Caribbean Writer and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse