"Ominous Decade"
Carol Hamilton
[Total Pages: 2]
Hamilton Page 1

[Listen to a reading of this poem.]

(Chapter title by Robert Hughes)

So the Catalans did it again,
picked up some tattered slogans
shredded off billboards
advertising the last battle,
pieced them into a new fury,
made another bout
of self-flagellation. These lusts
for martyrdom are like Hal in 2001:
A Space Odyssey, take on a life
that will not answer to us anymore.
Would you not think that we,
the creators of these self-willed
destroyers, would try to remember
where we put the OFF switch?


History is a dreary tale, but around the fire
we listen, wide-eyed, and the wandering
teller knows when to cut it off
so that we have our happy ending.
Saint Eulalia, Barcelona's patroness,
who over the centuries lost all
but her head, itself toppled, was rebuilt
from photos taken in 1851. Even in stone,
the saints are martyred, then set up
again like bowling pins, and we watch
it all as at the cinema, want to call out
to ourselves up there on the screen:
Watch out! Watch out! But we know
the heroine, who should know better
than to take that shortcut through
the dark alley, cannot hear us.
She may walk fast, stiletto heels
aclick on pavement. We see it