Ovid in Exile

Over slate-grey waters of the Eux­ine
wind car­ries sor­row from the north

to end with me—soul already scarred
by calumny, injustice—and now this
wind that car­ries sor­row from the north.

Some care­less verses were enough to seal
my fate, strand me on this gods-forsaken
shore of empire where every day I’m stung
by wind that car­ries sor­row from the north.

Per­haps the world’s a sphere as one or two
geome­ters sug­gest, and accu­sa­tions
flung from Rome move in unjust cir­cles
like the sundial’s shade, hitch­ing a ride
on wind that car­ries sor­row from the north.

Love, I’ve proved, is fraught ter­ri­tory for
a poet. Such pea­cock umbrage taken
in high places! I’ll write no more of Love,
work on my Tris­tia, so aptly named,
its sub­ject mat­ter safely reaped from
wind that car­ries sor­row from the north.

At night, Corinna, age­less as I age,
vis­its my dreams as she once vis­ited
my bed. Slow days pass. Ears play tricks,
hear horse­men rid­ing near with par­don
—another dream that com­forts for a while.
All else is hostage to quo­tid­ian
wind that car­ries sor­row from the north.





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William Rush lives in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia. His poems have appeared in mag­a­zines through­out Aus­tralia, the UK & USA. His lat­est col­lec­tion, Shocked Stars, was pub­lished in 2006.