Richard Greene, Republic of Solace: Poems 1984-1994 (St. John's, NF: Breakwater, 1994): 50. PS 8563 R3836R47 Robarts Library
1Lonely outposts of the mind
2Where armistice is undeclared,
4Keep watch over the islands
5Clutching spindly rifles
6And their long rusted swords.
7They have held to the code:
9Old age has not convinced them
10That the sun-god of reason
11Had his reasons to surrender.
12They look upward for proofs
13Of the old struggle,
14And, seeing less than nothing,
3] puttees: "A long strip of cloth or leather wound spirally round the leg from the ankle to the knee and worn by soldiers, walkers, etc., for protection and support in rough terrain" (OED). Back to Line
8] Bushido: Samurai honour code. Back to Line
15] the lost Zero: the vanishing zero, caused by an ever-increasing sensitivity of analytical methods to smaller and smaller quantities. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
Copyright © Richard Greene and used by permission of the poet.
Authorization to republish this poem must be obtained from him in writing.