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Hannibal

[H]oney carnage Carthage
Hannibal deep in mud,

his horse, one lame whinny,
hobbled, watching her rider,

a man churning, weep
as Rome pulled out.

The Delphi oracles sang
a capella; for the gods

had grown deaf, could
only question the melody

of the worshiper, not
the words or tone.

But there were no
gods here, just

the bloody swarm of
bees in Hannibal’s ears,

splish-splash of his limbs
quivering with boggy

earth, wax comb carrion,
raked horse-hide,

braying. Carnage
and honey. What

else is there? Clash
of arms and then

peace. Death and
then a birth. Deaf

gods and that terrible
whinnying.

][][

[H]oney carnage Carthage Hannibal deep
in mud, his horse, one lame whinny, hobbled,

watching her rider, a man churning, weep
as Rome pulled out. The Delphic oracles

sang a capella; for the gods had grown
deaf, could only question the melody

of the worshiper, not the words or tone.
But there were no gods here, just the bloody

swarm of bees in Hannibal’s ears, splish-splash
of his limbs quivering with boggy earth,

wax comb carrion, raked horse-hide, braying.
Carnage and honey. What else is there? Clash

of arms and then peace. Death and then a birth.
Deaf gods and that terrible whinnying.

][][

notes:

Hannibal (247-181 BC) was the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps with war elephants to invade Rome during the Punic Wars. The Oracle of Delphi was the name of the priestesses who served at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, in ancient Greece.