Ryan Robson-Bluer

Nor Priam nor his sons obtain'd their grace;

Proud Troy they hated, and her guilty race.


From the hillock of the lead mines, the cragged

Thumb of land under which the townscape nests,

The night sky glows with the starry campfires

Of the Trojan host. Long flares and streamers

Of light reach out across the ink-dark tide

And stars burn with envy of the land, where

The waywardness of woodfires calls to mind

Old remnants of war, and fear, and triumph.


The sky, doubled, gladdens the shepherd’s heart,

And he beams, lamb tucked in his arm, his face

Streaked with firelight. Across his pasture dance

The shadows of men – then up start the chants:

Full-bodied plainsongs swelling out like smoke,

Marauding dreams of burning ships, wailing

Down the walls of the Achaian camp’s tents.


The stars bleed empty, but the men stay on

And the hours soon make ashes of their cries.

The muddy night carries on the dull roll

Of sounds having lost their shape, lost their way –

And the shepherd, losing faith, turns away.

  • Author: Ryan Robson-Bluer (Offline Offline)
  • Published: January 21st, 2023 09:52
  • Comment from author about the poem: The celebration of the 11th July in Northern Ireland has always seemed problematic to me. Here I'm reimagining it with the backdrop of the end of Book VIII of Homer's Iliad, when the Trojans push the Achaian troops back to the shoreline and light a sea of campfires.
  • Category: Sociopolitical
  • Views: 18

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