by Nicholas Ward
for Mark Edmundson and the Homeric heroes
At the University they call it narcissism.
But pride tastes like metal
And blood. Smells like gun powder
And gasoline. Sounds like hounds
On a scent. Granddad said
He could listen to dogs run
Forever and die a happy man.
It looks like nothing, eyes
Closed kissing. Feels like
Sweat burn, true grit, victorious.
And I won’t even mention
That where I’m from, they
Can’t even spell narcissism,
Or care to. Neither could
Achilles. Nature only cares
For strength and beauty,
And some can’t spell beauty
Either. But they know pretty
And they howl righteously,
Free from chains and shame, collars
Gnawed off, wolves not yet forgotten.
A native of Greene County, Virginia, Nicholas Ward currently lives in Charlottesville, where he is finishing his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia. His experiences in rural central Virginia influence his work, and he is interested in bridging the gap between the world of academia at Mr. Jefferson’s University and the nearby rustic foothills of the Blue Ridge.