The Boxer of Quirinal

For two gross of statues,
For a few thousand battered books.
Ezra Pound

When Goths cut the aqueduct
the Romans buried you with care–
a bronze presence to protect.
Lost a millennium and more,

you were found, foundry-perfect:
hide-wrapped hands, ruined head–
battered nose, ears, neck–
still fresh with copper flecks of blood.

You look up, spent utterly
by what laurels cost the victor,
see with an explosive vacancy
Europe girding for the Great War.

John Barr / from this Archive, The Arts

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