We can’t remember. After years of war
that thing once known as “poetry” was lost.
We know there was a Greek named Robert Frost;
we don’t know what “pentameters” were for.

In rotting libraries the lame and blind
burn offerings to Hecuba and Seth.
They brew a postapocalyptic meth.
Perhaps it’s poem-like; it blows your mind.

They sing about the ancient poetry:
how once a woman listened to the tales
whispered by a snake with silver scales,
and plucked a golden apple from a tree.
What could it mean? We laugh and then feel sad.
If only we had poems like we had.



Luca D’Anselmi teaches Latin and Greek. He lives in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

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9 Responses

  1. Sally Cook

    Dear Luca D’Anselmi —

    Your poetry is clear; your classical allusions are striking and appropriate.
    More than all of that, you know what a poem is. !
    Welcome !

  2. Paul Freeman

    Entertaining, thought-provoking and well-written.

    I was reminded of The Time Machine, and the Lotus-Eating Eloi who have allowed their past to crumble into dust and are now ambitionless automatons.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    Luca, this is a sad poem, for several reasons, but it’s a glad poem because you have written something not much like anything else we have read. Your indirection and understatement let, nay, compel, the reader to exercise his or her native imagination. This is a poem like the ones “we had.”

  4. Margaret Coats

    A postapocalyptic mixture inspiring confidence that someone knows what to do with materials for poetry! Good observation about those others who find no meaning in the materials: the response to them should be laughter. Thanks for your lucidity.

  5. Daniel Kemper

    Favorite lines: “postapocalyptic meth” –Not just for it’s gritty application to contemporary crises, but for the highlighted Greek-origin word.

    Loved the ending, “If only we had poems like we had.”

    Finally, the observation that while immersed in the same dramas as the ancients they find no advice from them.

    “The old, the new; this is [only] a matter of time.” –Funakoshi


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