(a sonnet sequence after Heredia)
Under the azure where the noon sun totters,
Its golden poop, its silk pavillions
As radiant as a galaxy of suns,
The ship flies in a heaven of blue waters
And from the hawk-like prow receives its name.
Gripping the rail with jewelled hands, she leans
Into the wind: the last of Egypt’s queens,
The queen of sparrow-hawks, is out for game.
Here’s Tarsus where the Roman Eagle rules
The empty market place; where, Prince of Fools,
Blond Bacchus draws a final, sober breath;
Where maid and eunuch whisper ‘love and death’,
While Hawk and Eagle grouse and peck and lurch,
Two parakeets upon a single perch.