Yeats in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

In the hills an empire waits to be dug out.
These men, too, would be Great. The engineers
reel back the cable, blow whistles and shout.
A moment's quiet. New frequencies in their ears.

A wrinkled, head-scarved woman looks up
from the churning of Cascaval. On the shelf a cup —
as if in a siege — starts to rattle.
What thoughts course the brains of chewing cattle?

Finish the tunnel and chisel the thought:
Berlin to Constantinople straight through:
the Prussians, too, need a warm water port.


Empires retool as republics, and historians
write books about the Christians who filled out
the groups of Ottoman visitors
on the outskirts of Vienna. Bild
and Süddeutsche lie beside Hürriyet
on the writers' desks. They make rational decisions
as they check best deals on the net
for flights to Byzantium.