The colonnade rushed out into the road,
Baring its teeth, and tumbled over the line;
The traffic roared; a bobcat crushed a spine;
The dump trucks rumble mute and trundle their load.
Implacable till dark ribs line the pit —
Bones, but not of mastodons — the I-beams underlay
Unsteely eyes who watch in tensioned wit
Some young Excalibur pulling out of the clay.
Venus rose from the foam, but statutes now require
Enclosures for the statuesque where celebrants impound
Detritus of the gods, flood lights, and mire,
As ordinary beauty rises from the ground.
NOTES for Students of English
Bobcat – In addition to being the North American lynx, a bobcat is a small maneuverable excavator and loader.
I-beam – An iron or steel beam shaped like the letter I.
Excalibur – The name of, apparently, two swords of King Arthur. One he drew out of a miraculous stone after others had failed, thus proving himself the man who was to be king. The other he received from the Lady of the Lake’s hand, which appeared above the water holding the weapon.
“Venus rose from the foam” – The Goddess of Love and Beauty was said to have sprung from the foam of the sea. Her Greek name, Aphrodite, was explained as meaning “the foam-risen,” aphros meaning “foam” in Greek.