The Road To Ostia

( “Ostia” [plur. of “ostium“] is a derivation of “os”, the Latin word for “mouth”. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was ancient Rome’s seaport.)

The road to Ostia
had been paved with stone
smoothed by slave labor
to bear into Rome wagons
wide with Indian spices, silks,
Egyptian grain and flesh
from every sea and farm; timber
from the Atlas range, gold, ivory,
Asian marble to adorn the City.
All rumbled up this road from Ostia.

Down this road to Ostia each day Rome sent carts
piled with dung, the refuse of the City
and legions. Shit and legions were the industry of Rome.
And then the barbarians came on the road to Ostia.

One thought on “The Road To Ostia

  1. The purpose and end of all empire. Love this. Tik’al seems to be speaking to us from its sacred caves, from the roots of the jungle, eternal through its union with the Land to which it returns. It’s as if Tik’al were always part of the jungle, just biding its time. Ostia, on the other hand, reminds me more of our own culture and empire, a scab, an overburdening cancer on the Land, which some force of Nature (not excluding those of human agency) is destined to attack, to check its growth. Brings to mind the indigenous saying about Mother Earth shaking us off like a dog shaking off fleas. But that’s my perverse mind….

    Aside, there is something screwy going on with your formatting here, I believe. Grrrr….Wordpress….

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