All Day Permanent Red [To welcome Hector to his death]
To welcome Hector to his death God sent a rolling thunderclap across the sky The city and the sea And momentarily— The breezes playing with the sunlit dust— On either slope a silence fell. Think of a raked sky-wide Venetian blind. Add the receding traction of its slats Of its slats of its slats as a hand draws it up. Hear the Greek army getting to its feet. Then of a stadium when many boards are raised And many faces change to one vast face. So, where there were so many masks, Now one Greek mask glittered from strip to ridge. Already swift Boy Lutie took Prince Hector's nod And fired his whip that right and left Signalled to Ilium's wheels to fire their own, And to the Wall-wide nodding plumes of Trojan infantry— Flutes! Flutes! Screeching above the grave percussion of their feet Shouting how they will force the savage Greeks Back up the slope over the ridge, downplain And slaughter them beside their ships— Add the reverberation of their hooves: and "Reach for your oars. . ." T'lesspiax, his yard at 60°, sending it Across the radiant air as Ilium swept Onto the strip Into the Greeks Over the venue where Two hours ago all present prayed for peace. And carried Greece Back up the slope that leads Via its ridge Onto the windy plain.
From All Day Permanent Red by Christopher Logue. Copyright © 2003 by Christopher Logue. Published in April 2003 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.