I never wanted this & night must fall now
on my friends who never were my friends.
But look how civilly I rest my palm
beneath your elbow,
and with the barest uncia of force
guide you to the Tullianum.
We all must do our duties now,
and yours is to allow the rope
which I have readied more in grief than anger
to lower you to Charon’s quay
where Styx and Tiber and dark Tamesis
will join their lapping waters over you.
Peter Armstrong was born in Blaydon-on-Tyne in 1957 and subsequently trained as psychiatric nurse, working in the NHS and indpendently. He featured in Ten North Eastern Poets (Bloodaxe 1980) and received an Eric Gregory award in 1984. His collections include Risings (Enitharmon 1988), The Red Funnelled Boat (Picador 1998), The Capital of Nowhere (Picador 2003), Madame Noire (Shoestring pamphlet 2008) and The Book of Ogham (Shoestring 2012).