Barbed: Then and Now by Elsa Johnson

Barbed : Then and Now      

           (‘ homo homini lupus’: Plautus)

Elsa Johnson


 It was Acanthus mollis that found its soft

voluptuous way a-top the severe slim

columns of the temple of Olympian Zeus

that took six hundred years to build and was

 finished (at last) only to endure intact a single

century before being reduced to a stockpile of

marble construction blocks   Those columns needed

spikes : A. spinosus – each lurid leaf and flower

 armored   Walking past it several times each day

I think …surely a plant for a feral culture :

barbed – as in barbarian   What use sweet reason

when the wolves sweep down ? …howling   death

 death  death   (yours – not theirs)  …destruction

singing through their veins …their shining eyes