The Balkans (For Ismail Kadare) Ancestors compel them to homicide, The long dead still conniving at death, A moon shining like a butcher’s blade. The village has its keeper of the blood, A clerk of the enduring vendettas, Liabilities in a woman’s beauty. Falling in love can entail lethal risks. Honour involves a calculus of murder, (There are stone bolt-holes for fugitives Scattered like tombs across the landscape). Islam’s onrush was envelopment, Ustasha’s domain then Peking’s outpost, Modern overlays on the ancient order. History holds their malevolent code, And the frigid screes bleed on demand When a pale rider…
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