The Rats: And Other Poems

The Rats: And Other Poems

The Rats: And Other Poems

The Rats: And Other Poems

Excerpt

How did they begin? What oracular sound
Reached us from platforms underground?
What nuzzle moved against the humid clay?
What well-clawed feet scratched into ocular day?

They waited at first, sleek-bellied rats
Whose memories (kept dry in old tin-hats)
Were parchment-read and spread--then lit
As torches to illumine for these rats
The runnels and the tunnels of each pit.

Why did they not die, not die
Not suffer from inhuman thunder-rain
From neanderthal misery and cold
In those ravines where lamp-posts close the eye--
And turn such evolution, like a friend,
Back from the high wall of some dark dead-end?

They would not and will not be claimed
For trial by the martyred, dead or maimed.
Revenge was not the fashion: those who shoved
Were put no fatal question, a balanced glove
Ignored upon their shoulders, while in the mines
Unchallenged diggers sent out signs
Of geologic stairways built on bones:
A noise of rodents nosing through the stones.

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