Lions of a land surrounded by seas

From watch-posts, pedestals, columns,
they leapt to life – claws out,
jaws wide – their roars not imagined
by those dreaming in safety.
Their strength pursued vagrants, who too
were prowling – worse than any lion –
bearing the image of the Eternal
yet roaming the night to thieve and maul.
One old guardian, full-maned but thin,
awoke still half stone, claws clutching
shining spheres of marble
to menace and wield. At times
the night, under the Italian skies,
and the dim streets, were massed
with legions of lions seeking vengeance
for the corruption of their City.
Out of love, they gave real lions –
let loose from the Duke’s gardens –
wide berth, making them think they were
simply their own magnificent shadows.

3 thoughts on “Lions of a land surrounded by seas

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