How Rome Rises as it Ruins

Author: Kieran Furey

This is a short anti-war poem based on, and including a quotation from, Virgil. It was first published in 'Poetry Ireland Review' 2003 (Issue number 76). I wrote it at the time the Iraq war seemed inevitable, and the destruction of Afghanistan was already beginning.

Forgive me this: that when I sleep I dream
of Harpies, Strophades and Hecatombs;
of Roman wars all Greek to me; of bombs
that fall from skies on mountains, caves and

And in such dreams I see whole landscapes burn
as “”once again the ravenous birds return,
from the dark recesses where they lie
or from another quarter of the sky.””

And in my dreams the Harpies are not fed
enough to make them stop. No, they are led
by huge and ugly hungers to seek out
more food wherever they can find a threat.