The hope a mooncalf follows
is sacrifice for slaughter,
and yet the wings of swallows
still skip across the water. 

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Cracow at Dawn

Beneath the clouds
in the corner of my faithless eyes
seven magpies have stolen away
the morning star.
Glory, glory! The rising sun
crowns the cathedral
in this town stopped still
in awe of blazing malachite.
Reborn are the winged shades
in the rookeries
to haunt dear heaven
with their pained pterodactyl cries.
Reborn are the grey pigeons
on the old market square
quarrelling with their enemies,
the dirty sparrows.
Sancho, my old friend,
is it time to embrace more love,
to sit with the ageing harlots
mid the pews of Saint Anne,
though the heft on our backs
is heavier than the rood,
than the silent sermons
of characters stained in glass?
I’ve two coins in my pocket
as poisonous as lead,
enough for a flask of rum
or Hungarian wine.
Let’s park our gaunt donkey
beneath the Baroque clouds,
then limp back to the inn
for as long as there is time…
from The Unfinished Crusade, 2000
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© by Leo Yankevich