By Peter Halstead

Drab obelisk
That you are,
No watch’s dial,
No higher bar,
No scowl

Can keep you from
Your careful vowels,
Your tired drum,
Your measured scroll,
Your tidy rick

Without its hay,
Your clique without a soul,
Your steady tick
Without a face,
Your halves without a whole.

Wailing Siren
Without the sea,
Blind tyrant
Without a state,
All brain, no memory,

And always late,
Captive of mere sounds,
No pretty face
Alone can deter you
From your appointed rounds,

Your memorized dates,
Your soft-shoe dance
From the howl
Of hounds,
The blast of chance,

Your empty rigor
Just the trance
Of rigor mortis,
The tired vigor
Of a tortoise,

Determined to ignore
Every bloody tone
In the room but your
Own, dear metronome,
Just skip to my Lou,

As any metric, fleet
And adamantine poem must do.

August 4th, 2017
March 28th, 2023