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Friday, June 09, 2006


           800 BC -- 2006

by Roberta Gould

Not that Cambysis himself
mocked the gods of the others
he who murdered his sister named wife
when the law was twisted  to allow
what his God forbade
but that his men did the acts
entered the temples of the other nations
burned their mummies
sneared excrement over the dead
and the holy images
to prove they were there
Not Cambysis himself
though history gives him credit
Cambysis who lead Persia to ruin
and Asia and the future
in his madness  and notions
in his war games and whims
not Cambysis who murdered
ten thousand that week
but his men
in his name
loosed like beasts
with their banners and steel
fearing perhaps for their  lives
their skin
their children
or simply
following leader
and having fun

Roberta Gould’s poetry has appeared in many journals and periodicals, including Confrontation, The New York Times, Green Mountain Review, Blue Line, The Village Voice, Chapultepec Review, The Pacific Coast Journal, Helicon Nine, Bridges, and Rio on Line. Her published books are Dream Yourself Flying (1979), Writing Air, Written Water (1980), Only Rock (1985), Esta Naranja (1988), Not by Blood Alone (1989), Live Show (1993), Three Windows (1997), In Houses With Ladders (2000). Her eighth book, Pacing the Wind, will be out this summer.