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This poem is taken from PN Review 222, Volume 41 Number 4, March - April 2015.

Stone Notes Vahni Capildeo and Jeremy Noel-Tod
ROME’S NORTH-WESTERN FRONTIER: INVITATION TO A CIVILISATION

Imp. Caesar’s invitation to the ballista ball
by way of white lead acorn-shaped slingbolts arrives
via red-hot correspondence personally stamped,
launches like a no-shit eagle wreathing overhead;
promises ornate south-facing distance slabs, burnt wheat.
Come on. For ages some of you’ve aped our style, pleading
continuity in Ciceronian Latin
taught at your good school in Wales. You look Celtic and sound
dead. We were hardly dancing when, from the Forth to the Clyde,
thirty-seven miles, evenly, with our differing feet –
Roman contingents of Syrian archers, Roman bands
of Tungrian horsemen – we paced off, or measured, squares.
Now from within the water-to-water wall patrolled
at sky height and from the adverse mouths of platformed fires,
we, between micaceous sandstone pillars, glittering,
...


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