Monday, July 22, 2019

Central Wars

From the Nile Delta to Balkh,
From Tigris to the Levant
And, well, once we start

Expanding, we might as well
Add the Black Sea, the Ganges,
The Mediterranean,

And then, before we notice,
We’ll pass the Yellow River,
Skip over open ocean

And wind up in the Andes
Or the Yucat√°n.
Let’s reel it back in.

East of Tyre, west of Zagros,
North of the Euphrates swamps,
Something like that: the Near East,

The Europeans called it,
But the west beyond the west
To the Han Chinese.

Catalogue it, beginning
With the earliest cities
Of Sumeria, battling

For supremacy,
Building and boasting their walls.
Enumerate its sequence,

From the Enuma Elish
To the current vicious war
Dragging corpses through the dregs

Of the corpse of Syria.
Include everything,
Every war ever was here,

Whether out of the cities,
Riding in from the desert,
Or invading from afar,

From lands of foraging bands
Without counting or writing
Or priests for astrology

Back when this navel of war
Already kept lists of kings,
Recopied old lists of kings.

If the sequence were detailed
Enough, precise enough, down
To atomized description,

Would it tell us anything?
Would it explain anything
Other than the uselessness

Of conquest for explaining
The violence of meaning
Which lusts for blood and weeping?

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