It swept us up, but all great things must cease:
A city-state blown great to Empire, fast,
Without a clear succession, could not last
But for that time it lived we dreamed of peace.
It’s still a light to catch the heart aflame
Civility behind the army’s shield
Roads running straight past town and school and field
Justice and learning, honour, and a name.
But at the heart of all that central flaw,
No place to hold a king, no sovereignty
But always civil war, the army’s yoke
Invoking chaos, making mock of law.
The state can not be saved, they fight to see
Who takes the apple, Eris’s vicious joke.
July 1996, Lancaster