SONG FOR THE SUPERMAN
The Via Po, Turin,
January 3 1889
I wasn’t given tears, only toil.
The lash and harness my life.
No stall for a home, streets are my grass and path.
Each day I feel myself becoming slower,
the stones coming closer, the voices more hectoring,
the cold words sting my back.
My muscles are strapped,
though I remember a quick morning
when mere sight of the sun
was an invitation to race.
Now the coachman beats me,
claiming his god’s anger,
demanding more work from me,
more effort, pull, obedience and strength,
with no rest,
each day an ending without reward.
Suddenly he was there, dishevelled, shivering,
clothes so ragged he could have been naked.
Not like the others, he wept,
shouting to the whip I barely felt.
His face close, that warm fleshsmell,
his arms around my neck.
Startled, I stamped and reared,
raising my head, almost noble again.
He embraced me,
his voice pitying.
O my brother.
I wasn’t given tears, but behold
the man crying out for me,
though he appeared too late,
his weeping too late.
“The Unsaid Passing” BW Powe (Guernica) 2005