Sonnet XXX

All that one can see is, face to face,
intrepid squadrons bent on making war,
bloody fluids staining the green earth,
and everyone pursuing honour's game;
this is the lovely sound that all can hear:
"For Spain, Saint James, close ranks, attack, attack!
And as a pleasing scent to foul the air,
sulphur smoke ignites with burning flame;
one's taste, now compromised, seeks out unclean
water, and touch can only grope and finds
in bloodied steel a trophy hard as stone,
splintered bone, within it rotted flesh,
mangled armour, torn-up coats of mail:
oh, noble state, worthy of men alone!

Francisco de Aldana 1532 - 1578
(© Alix Ingber, 1995)

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2012 Selected Poetry
The Poets Garret
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