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The Writings and Poetry of Tony Thomas

Last Journey
Tony Thomas    

Last Journey

At the thirteenth hour he stumbles round,
Within the roundel of the Seal,
From olive branch to arrowheads,
His Empire shrunk to this small weal.

Outside the window, men in shades bowed low
Lurch to the beat of helicopter blades
Scything above the well-mown grass.
In an outer room, a solitary laugh.

And in his ears imagined,
The distant rumble of the people’s scorn,
Rolling like thunder
Over the roses blooming by the lawn.

Should he kneel and pray one last time
Or stand defiant upon the circling stars,
Ready to face the many
Come to cleave the fasces of command?

A single page flutters from his hand.
Will the band play Sanderson’s anthem?
A chieftain stumbling to the block
Needs a less strident tune.

Ruin, retribution and despair
Do not dance well to Scott’s Gaelic air,
But go slowly, toiling through the snow,
Like Boney to Moscow’s triumphant bells.

A small group clusters by the door;
Family standing by to share the burden,
And a few grey heads, disgraced too,
Must hang disconsolate in the garden.

Condemning many, he is now condemned
To hang upon the tree of infamy,
The people’s albescent hands washed clean
Of sharing his responsibility.

But none of this he knows or understands,
Only the buzzing bees of half formed thoughts.
Puppet’s knees jerk to the final ‘Hail’,
Moving Petroushka from oval wings to stage.

Cryonic blood welters from heart to brain,
Somewhere a halting voice tries to explain,
But falters, stumbling over ‘exculpate’.
What does that mean at any rate?

Cameras blitz; red spots waver and persist,
The blue crested bird whirls into life again.
A hurricane, blows paper cups across the grass,
Heralding the last journey into pain and loss.

Tony Thomas
September 2005