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The Horses of Achilles

O Field of Asphodel, two horses

Whinnied and raced along your edge,

Their backs were shining like a wave

As they came surging out of the tide

And tore across the empty sand,

Their necks were arched like breakers, high,

Stallions flecked with white foam . . .

Lightning kindled in the eye.

They dove back in, wave into the waves,

Foam into the foam of the sea,

And then were gone. I knew those steeds,

One had taken on human voice,

And prophecy, a sayer of sooth.

The hero gripped the reins and kicked,

Driving onward his godlike youth . . .

Holy horses, fate has kept you

Indestructible, and set

Upon your foreheads black as night

A charm against the evil eye,

A great and blinding blaze of white!

Poem to Palamas

Blare the trumpets forth.

Thunderous bells shake the whole country right through

Drums of war moan.

Unfurl the standards.

In this coffin lies Greece!