Crossing the Rubicon

I honour the rules.  It hasn’t been fear
That’s kept me behind this camouflaged line;
Fêted, venerated, for years.

With its dull copper glow it has given no sign
That it bounded my actions, so obviously right;
Now it runs like a trip wire, glinting and fine

In the grass!  One step now will trigger the fight;
Shudder my own bones with the weight
Of my sword; overhead, the shadowing height

Of the pillars I shake; though not out of hate:
They held up my world, and all I stood for
Until this moment.  It’s not too late

To turn back from the river, within the law,
Betraying myself.  No iron-tumbled walls;
No boot-crushed landscape.  No civil war.
By the water, the troops are awaiting my call.

Elaine Ewart, Fenland Poet Laureate

For the Summer Exhibition at Wisbech Museum, August 2012

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