Carthago delenda est

A new poem by William Logan

My God, my God, etc.
—Matthew 27

Like a belt tied around a throat,
the light crosses the porch, the wooden columns
now underwater. Hopper painted those clapboards
beleaguered by light. The Cape Cod

of childhood promised an elsewhere
stubbled with pine barrens, drifts of salt
some remnant of Carthage. Old Cato,
Cato the Censor, nothing new ever good enough,

nothing old without its verities, Cato who fought
his Battle of Thermopylae—the sharp advance
from peaks always a good way to go.
With his close-cropped Roman haircut,

his lumpenproletariat face like rocks
in a silk purse, he had no patience with opulence.
He could not have spared sympathy for lives
beyond their means. As for ends,

the lawns dappled in sin lie coated in verdigris.

WILLIAM LOGAN'S latest book is Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure: The Dirty Art of Poetry (2014). His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Poetry, The New Criterion, and other magazines.

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