after Virgil, Aeneid 12
He stopped still. All around him disaster
reeled, in distinct and endless pictures.
It was as if he were allowed to watch
as shame slowly felt across his face
the way a flame will curl around,
then overtake, a piece of paper.
Madness in his heart mixed with grief,
a love for others now indistinct
from general anger; and courage, aware
of itself, somewhere just beneath.
After a time, the shadows scattered.
Light returned to the man’s mind.
And now, eyes inspired, he sizes up
the far front lines, at one again
with his machine against the city on fire.
Sound from Sound
after Virgil, Aeneid 2
Swirling, returning through the pines’ screen,
the sounds were faint but they kept coming
until the ping of battleaxes and men’s screams
covered, then became, the silence.
Still rubbing sleep away, I stumbled
out onto the winding gabled roof
of my father’s house…
as when a wheat field
explodes in wind-tugged flames, or a freshet,
wedged among low mountain ledges,
building up speed, finally lands
and in an instant the meadow vanishes,
crops are crushed, a whole forest,
uprooted, starts wobbling off–
while the shepherd stands, frozen, picking
sound from sound on a distant rock.
after Virgil, Aeneid 8
News comes from Latium
and now he has to decide; but thinking,
too quick for itself, splits as it starts,
it pours into one plan’s form
then jars and recombines, as if
to elaborate his fate from every angle
were to understand it:
so the light
held within a copper bowl
of water, shaking back the sun
or a moon’s glimmering particles,
will flit and work upon the walls
and crannies in an empty room,
rising to strike the ceiling, trembling,
though both water and bowl are still.
Nate Klug‘s Rude Woods, Passages from Virgil’s Eclogues, will be published in September 2013 as the third full-length book from The Song Cave. Recent poems appear in Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Threepenny Review, and in the chapbook Consent(Pressed Wafer). He currently lives and works in central Iowa.