This is from Steve Kilbey's 1999 book Nineveh/The Ephemeron. You can still order a copy by sending 7.50 pounds sterling ($14US) to Erskine Music and Word, 69 Hodcliffe Rd, Leighton Buzzrd, LU78JR, UK. Make IMOs or UK checks payable to T. Boyd (boydnet@compuserve.com).

Excerpt from Nineveh

The caravans come and go
with their spices and silks, hawk-nosed merchants
greedy long fingers pressing silver
searching for profit
what gods do they worship but money
the women are covered from head to toe
beauty or ugliness never revealed
struggling through sandstorms that swallow whole tribes
dreaming of the oases known only to themselves
telling stories of a great ocean which lies beyond the horizon
serpents come up from the depths crushing boats
in their coils
angry sea gods who conjure storms
bewildering the proud sailors who dare traverse their domain
Some speak of a city beneath the waves
where fish swim through the towers
in the half light, submarine people with scales
drift coldly about their business
men are lured down to their drowning deaths
promises of a treasure just for the taking
so far none have returned
and still further a northern continent inhabited by barbarians
who eat children and couple with beasts
fierce stupid people who care nothing for civilisation
white cold stuff falls from the sky and covers the ground
breath is visible, water becomes solid
surely these are just tales invented on long journeys
through the eternal shifting sands.

1999 Erskine Word and Music and Steve Kilbey

 


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