Leonard Ernest Scott's poetry

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Heraklion
April 21, 1967

At first they think the King is dead,
but then the radio
sprays chosen fact and martial airs
to lay
the thick brown rumour-clouds
which hang
about the market and the quay.
Then they say:
“Better if the King had died.”

Above the town the mountains,
shuttered in cloud,
Already hide more armed men
than Jason’s dragon-seed...
or so they say...

Along the narrow streets
the shutters clang and,
stranded porpoises,
the buses stand.
Peasants, their journey ended
before it had begum,
descend with bundles and
with babes,
to whisper and to move from
foot to foot,
while tourists, pink, in
parti-coloured clothes
are lost indeed within
this Cretan labyrinth,
lacking their Ariadne-thread
the foreign Press.

They watch, and click,
and cackle,
and do not understand.
“A taxi, sir, to Knossos?
No sir, the taxis will not run,
Because we do not like this
thing the King has done.”

In the street someone is shouting,
and, at once,
a knot of men is swirling in the dust.
Clash!
goes the big brass grille
before the bank;
but no-one tries to enter.

All the shops are shuttered now
except the bread shop
where, amid a crowd that sweats
and shoves,
a policeman
Stands like an olive-coloured rock.
until, a loaf beneath
his arm,
he parts the crowd with dignity
and makes for home