Winter 1980 • Vol. II No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1980 |

GBH: The Fight over the Body of Patroclus: An Account of Books 17 and 18 of the Iliad

The letters GBH stand for the charge of grievous bodily harm, which, after murder, is the most serious of offences against the person in English law.  Spinning above his feet, gripping its thong with his fist, A soldier whirls his sword knee high. Sunlight upon the blade. A slat. But tipped. Two fellow soldiers skip as it sings by.  Mere veterans. 'They do not give a whit who fucks soft Helen.' Nor do they think it wise to think that out. Aloud ― of course they say they care: An arrow manufacturer from Sphax Who said: "God let me kiss her arse before I die," Got knifed. Such things occur twice nightly by the Wall. •  Faultless horizon. Flattish sea. Wet shore. Wide plain. Look west:  King Mena'laos sees Patroclus fall And thinks: 'His death will get us home.'  Under a mile away Prince Hector says: "Thackta, keep watch. This lookalike is worth his weight in gold."  "You will be long?" "Not long," who wants Achilles' chariot and pair. Then climbs into h

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