Two dragons face each other down
with cold, weary eyes, trusting only
their mutual hostile wariness.
The blue dragon lies with his tail in Hiroshima,
his teeth sown from Greenham to Minnesota:
the red dragon’s shadow blackens the earth
from Eastern Europe to the far border
where a yellow dragon, older than either
in his infinite malicious speculation,
waits with the patience of millennia.
On the knife edge between two Germanies
the blue and red are close enough to kiss,
if dragonian vindictiveness allowed
for such an unthinkably traumatic resolution.
But the clash of words sears harsh and unremitting,
a furnace wind shrieking from twisted maw:
only their eyes, ever watchful,
constantly calculating unspeakably narrow margins
of risk and impotence
are cold and inhumanly weary.
About their flanks, the baby dragons
spit sparks and sharpen their claws
and dream of being
Peace in our time
never to have lived
in a world at war
Published in Vertical Images, 1986. Copyright David Harley, 1986. A companion piece, I guess, to Anniversary.