at the grave of Polynices

by David McLean
she stood proud as god and on her woman's shoulders
the family rested, that private state
which precedes the state, her precedent
carried to the idea so that
even he, thought's lone soldier
at philosophy's end respected,
later, the words she said
"the demands of the dead last longer,
for we are dead forever"

and she stood proud, hung proud,
dead in her cave crying loud outrage,
punished like the daughter she was of incest,
and dead by her own brave fingers plaiting the rope
around her neck, fingers brown still with residue of clay
that covered a brother's body to fitting ground
in decent death,
the sweet and suitable grave place,
and the family's sacred right to death's deep rites.

as it were the blind wise, and still blinder
i take your side here and ever have chosen 
another such woman to stand behind
my prophet, my Antigone,
for the future will tell the fall i foretell,
the state that shall crumble unregretted
while the holy soil shall always claim
the brave, and the worm mutter love
from the well-tenanted grave.

© 2007 by David McLean. All rights reserved.

David McLean lives in Sweden though he is Welsh. He has recently had poems printed in a number of magazines. He lives with his fiancée and many cats.