Troy: the Facts

It took us hardly any time at all
to do that little shithole of a town:
out of the boats, quickly over a wall
low and already crumbling, and down
into poky little alleys, filled
with dirty peasants - snotty-nosed kids, old men
and ugly women. We raped and we killed,
let off steam, smashed and burned the place. And then,
back to the boats with our sad bit of loot:
a few coins grabbed from a stinking hut
and a slave, a repulsive old boot
called Helen. The whole raid, a waste of time. But...
now, on the long and tedious journey home,
the men are talking the usual soldiers' crap,
as if some great city went up in flame
while the sea was filled with stately galley-ships.
That fucking place! When we are dead and gone
I think those soppy poets will prefer
to see its walls rebuilt - in words, not stone -
much higher than they ever really were.

David Whippman

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