R.G. Foster



Neons welter, -

dim sparks writhing,

the river lies, without motion,

along its banks the white horses are tied

by beaten ropes, and the streets are packed

with a cadaverous congregation.

A cat staggers

by the cyclamen, dazed and drunken,

the shards of its teeth glisten

in the yellow moonlight.


The prophet is dead.

The kings emerge onto a balcony,

the mist-cords begin to stretch, unchallenged,

chariots creep from the vaults, bearing flags and banners,

damp violas cast rickety tunes, and the vair canopy, -

it reaches, embroidered with dragons and cuckoos.


The bright rags of a virgin

climb from a manhole, - the horses, awoken

with memories of destriers, break

from the riverbank. And she, she

smiles at a slumbering cat, and does not acknowledge

any reason to wake it.


The morning rains

past the garret window.

On the bed, a mass

of fat and silk sprawls

on the blonde.

Far off, against the hillside, the heat

gathers and swirls on the floor

of the amphitheatre. And in the parados, the procession of gold

armour barks anthems of victory, marching with flags

and banners, - vair, bronze, tigerskin, - projecting the gold

face of the trophy. Ragged children

crowd the theatron, crushing the foreign grapes

underfoot, singing and shoving while they chew the meat.

On the orchestra Paris stands,

riven and bleeding, his head upturned, his chin erect, -

she leans against the window.

Wrapped in a frayed gown,

she shivers, behind her,

the commander smirks,

humming his distant tunes,

watching the harlot’s hair fade further.

R.G. Foster © 2013


Fog rises

to the balcony

of the watchtower,

beyond the city walls

vermilion spirits

dance on the plateau,

below, men

stagger from bordellos,

children shiver and stare

at the gallows, and here,

on the balcony,

he smiles,

carving a fresh language

into the railing,

for his smile is consumed by the fog.


‘Repent ye before the sword be unsheathed, while it be yet unstained with blood...’ - Girolamo Savonarola

By the gallows

a gathering of women

sit bent, heads turned upward,

bodies shivering.

Young men shuffle

about the river,

wishing maturity

would come with the torrents.

Not far, old artisans chuckle

at the bright fish dancing

in the boxes.

Children see parents

give cash to a general,

who canters

away, and will soon canter back.

The cathedral sits empty, -

the paradise on its windows

blurred in the unhampered sunshine.

R.G. Foster © 2013