Christodoulos moves, and shakes
his seven chins. He is that freak
a successful alchemist, and makes
God knows how much a week.
Out of Christodoulosʼ attic,
full of smoke and smells, emerge
soldiers like ants, with antsʼ erratic
gestures seek the pavementʼs verge;
weak as wounded, leaning in a knot
shout in the streets for an enemy —
the dross of Christodoulosʼ pot
or wastage from his alchemy.
They flow everywhere; by swarthy portals
entering the crucibles of others
and the lesser sagesʼ mortars:
but Christodoulos is the father
of all, heʼs the original wise one
from whose experiments they told
how War can be the famous stone
for turning rubbish into gold.
Author: Keith Douglas
Keith Douglas died, at age 24, in Normandy in June of 1944. Several editions of his work are available, most recently "Simplify Me When I am Dead."