( after Delacroix)
Marshy banks of the Danube , reeds and bushes
and muddy crescents of horses’ hooves. Their
clothes are earth-coloured, his dark blue.
He feels the Autumn starting – that sky, those clouds,
the way the wind is moving them. The mountains
roll back , uncharted as far as China.
Ovid is writing another letter to Rome –
a gentle puzzlement to his watchers, which weapons
and dogs don’t quite shield them from.
He wonders whether a linen toga, his scrolls
and pens , and their unknowing admiration,
can be protection against such sadness,
if he can metamorphose Chaos to Order,
exile to Fate, the amorous summer weasel
into the noble winter ermine.