‘After the Peloponnesian Wars: a Microcosm’ and Other Poetry by James B. Nicola The Society July 23, 2017 Poetry 1 Comment After the Peloponnesian Wars: a Microcosm A Villanelle At last I grasp what I could never get: As long as man has heart, hope can exist. Doom’s not your only master, then. And yet for years I thought―thought hard, without regret― the reverse, as fatalist and humanist. But now I grasp what I could never get. For this I owe Thucydides a debt of thanks. You haven’t read him? Here’s his gist: That Doom is not our only master. Yet free men do act with folly. Do not let their acts, however, serve as catalyst. I only grasped what I could never get last night while on the subway where I met a rude man, mean-mouthed, brandishing a fist. For Doom not to become my master yet― I prayed for him! He could have been a vet, shell-shocked, in need of a psychiatrist. . . . So peace prevailed, which I could never get before. And Doom was not my master, yet. Three Flowers I’m three flowers interchangeably, depending on the nose. A carnation, not infrequently; and now and then, a rose. But it must seem to you of late those symbols have grown old, that I’ve begun to germinate into a marigold of potent perfume, so a hedge of me keeps back the bugs when planted at the garden’s edge, susceptible to slugs. And golden hues are useless there where not a passing soul has been inclined to pick and wear me in their buttonhole. Come closer to the flower bed, though, fix your eyes on me, and you’ll see only pink or red and smell no pungency but sniff and in an instant tell that a carnation grows for you to wear in your lapel if not, in fact, a rose. James B. Nicola’s nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His two poetry collections, published by Word Poetry, are Manhattan Plaza (2014) and Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater (2016). He won a Dana Literary Award, a People’s Choice award (from Storyteller) and a Willow Review award; was nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and once for a Rhysling Award; and was featured poet at New Formalist. A Yale graduate as well as a composer, lyricist, and playwright, James has been giving both theater and poetry workshops at libraries, literary festivals, schools, and community centers all over the country. His children’s musical Chimes: A Christmas Vaudeville premiered in Fairbanks, Alaska, where Santa Claus was rumored to be in attendance on opening night. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) One Response James Sale July 24, 2017 Very, very fine poems – I really loved them both. Your villanelle is hypnotic and I love the ease with which you summarise Thucydides – masterful writing. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.