Poems of the Week

Gory Days

by Steven Urquhart Bell

“Rome calls in cleaners armed with shovels to fight Colosseum’s rat infestation”
The Telegraph

But don’t let on they’re cleaners. Tell the public
They’re members of a reenactment group,
And tool them up with swords and nets and tridents,
And play them martial music on a loop.

Then spread the word: “Not since the days of Empire
Has Rome played host to such a thrilling bout—
Voracious wild beasts and gladiators!”
You’ll rake it in—unless you’re ratted out.