Armor, pierced more and more, grows in strength,
Grows into wire, its chased integument at length —
As net that captures monolithic shields —
Binds swords and blunts forces bruter,
So that one asks: Which is Retiarius, which Secutor?
The inverse paralyzes as it yields.
Opposites attract, but the inverse, as it charms,
Saps opponents’ strength in its diminishing arms;
The rigging counterbalances the hull;
And bronze, the complement of seines’ frayed strands,
Poses: Which is the order that withstands?
Salient or intaglio whose sum is null.
Let madness be the opposite of sanity;
Then Art is the inverse, and nets of depth and vanity
Fling their graph of the eternal equation:
One over force wins over force; reprieve is won
From opposites whose sum is not annihilation;
Art times madness yields a deathless One.
NOTES for Students of English
Chased – A metal surface ornamented by indenting.
Integument – (Pronounced in-TEG-ye-ment) An enveloping layer, such as skin, of an organism.
Retiarius – (Pronounced ree-shee-AIR-ius) A gladiator armed with a net and a trident.
Secutor – (Pronounced se-KYU-tor) A gladiator armed with a shield and a sword; Retiarius’s opponent.
Seines – (Pronounced sanz) Large fishing nets.
Salient – Something that projects outward.
Intaglio – (Pronounced in-TAL-yo) A figure or design incised below the surface of the material.