Arrested

Go back down the jetty
And tread water to the fish.
It waits; its work is slaughter,
Its teeth a cleaving lash.

Remember how the ancients
Arrested themselves with slings:
Here stood the roll of drums,
Here sand the shining strings.

Go back up the gangway
And walk the merry plant
To horns and bays of plenty
Where cities sailed and sank.

And keys and choirs are taken,
The ground is bleeding dust,
And the symphony of engines
is the next holocaust,

Till all names, faces, voices,
In the silence of eyes shut,
Go back down the jetties
To the teeth that hungers cut.

Long ago we are forgotten,
Words wilt on a floating stalk;
And the leap of seething coral
Pulls down perpetual dart.