Bruce Harris

Rooms in an Empty Palace
 
Shrouded chairs and dirt-dim windows
something vaguely scurrying
across a vast imperial carpet
defecating on the way
The finery in the wardrobes
is gnawed in threads and bloodied
when King Charles’ head hit the basket
no gown remained unsoiled
 
The silver vanished long ago
when the Bastille boys broke in
opening and closing mouths
at a grandeur unconceived.
 
The battlements are in straggled white
no defence against the pigeons
Boney in an island prison
invincibility is lost
 
The wind wafts through empty rafters
on naked winter days
like the wails of Tsars and Shahs
in places newly cold
 
Dark black basement bottles
lie inert in countless thousands
piled above the unseen obscene
rotting Hitlers, putrid Stalins
 
Lavish wall high tapestries
lately done in vivid red
are crumbling like a certain wall
when the axes did their work
 
and now the Arabian sofas
gilt edged and velvet lined
are buckling at their nibbled legs
too torn to keep their stuffing
 
They’ve all been in, one time or other,
the god men and their mysteries
and when travellers break in finally
they find there’s no one there
 
 
Bruce Harris © 2011