9:2: “Kassandra”, by Larry Hammer

9:2: “Kassandra”, by Larry Hammer

— at the Skiain Gate

Where is the present? Trojan walls were red
With Argive flame, and black with our men’s blood.
A raven bleeds. The walls will be erected
Block by slave-hewn block reeking of sweat.
But no, we’re not that warm tonight—the fires
Were tomorrow. Now that it’s so close,
I cannot stop remembering the end,
My graft of sight will be so long ago.
After a night in bright Apollo’s arms
He’ll weave time through my sinew’s warp, a weft
That rends me from my time, for prophecy’s
Not his to give without his father’s leave.
When he’ll reject his botched work, he will have
The same contempt the men have now as I
Recall our fall, contempt for crazy Kass.
The raven croaks, bright-eyed. The women knelt
Before them, smoke choking their cries. I cry.
When Troy was sacked tomorrow by the ants
Spreading from this rotting horse, through flames
I saw black Klytemnestra’s knife flash in
The walls of dumb Mykenae. An arrow shoots the raven.



Larry Hammer lives in Arizona, where the chaparral is dry and the cavalry fort is far across the arroyo. He wrote “Kassandra” to exorcise the nightmare image of living backwards in time from his brain.



5 Responses to “9:2: “Kassandra”, by Larry Hammer”

  1. Angela says:

    Brilliant!

  2. Asakiyume says:

    Beautiful, Larry. Love the sounds of the vowels, and I love
    After a night in bright Apollo’s arms
    He’ll weave time through my sinew’s warp, a weft
    That rends me from my time,

  3. Larry Hammer says:

    Aw, thankee. It’s actually an older poem, written when I was still learning how to use meter, so I tend to think of it in terms of its consonants.

    —L.

  4. REN says:

    Great use of language.

  5. Katie says:

    WOW. This is amazing. Even for you, it’s amazing!

    And having (unfortunately) channeled Kassandra, or at least her curse, on a couple of occasions, I’ve always felt a horror of her “gift.” I can see why you wished to exorcise it.

Leave a Reply