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Caesar’s Breath

As they tend to, this poem arrived almost fully formed a few years back. I don’t quite remember the context, to be honest, but I remember thinking: “Well, suddenly time to write another poem.”

I just can’t force them. I’ve given up trying.

A thought or sensation becomes a few words, which become lines, which become the piece. I may alter a word or two, maybe delete something a year later, even, but the bulk of any poem I ever share was written at the first pass.

You shouldn’t go out on the Charles anymore

The ice is too thin, I think.
You shouldn’t go out there when it’s like this.
The ice is too thin and you might fall through.
I know it’s tempting.
Believe me—I know it’s tempting…

Falling through

But don’t go out there anymore.
Spring is almost here. Soon it will be spring.
The ice will melt to water and go back to where it goes every year.

We’ve all got Caesar’s breath in us they say.
That’s a statistic: they say we’ve all got Caesar’s breath in us by now.

But which?
His dying breath,
Or just one in between?

The Rocks Have Been Rolled Smooth by Waves

I wrote this poem while sitting at a sun-drenched table outside the main entrance of the main office building of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. At the time, I worked in that towering structure, the same building featured in Diehard as Nakatomi Plaza.

That was a while back, that part of life. This poem is one of the better things that came out of the whole ordeal. But that’s another story. I can’t remember the exact inspiration for this piece. Most of the limited number of poems I’ve written with which I’m truly happy take shape in my mind rather quickly, with the first and final drafts not differing greatly. I can write poetry well only as long as I never try to force it. Thus gaps of a year or more often passing between any decent verse.

So it goes. Anyway:

The rocks have been rolled smooth by waves

The rocks again rolled smooth by waves.

Some had once been humble mountains

Some had been old soldiers’ graves.

Others once were Grecian fountains

Hewn by long forgotten slaves.

Some had borne the painted wonder

Of shivering men who crouched in caves.

Many once were rough; were mighty

The rocks have been rolled smooth by waves.

Some had been the works of man

The rocks rolled smooth by countless waves.