From (stalled work-in progress) 'Little Illiad': in Odysseus' voice, inside the Wooden Horse, parked outside the gates of Troy and surrounded by perplexed Trojans:

The most memorable sneeze I ever heard
Was at the court of a Theban noble:
We had been patiently explaining
                  the gravity of his position
    (surrounded and about to be filleted)
Decorated with the deepest heartfelt marks
                                       of respect to his dignity
                                  (the men were tired of sieges
                                            and Achilleus was away)
When he declared that he would not surrender
Until the Gods sent him a clear sign
That so was their will
Just as he spoke
A feaster on the other side of the hall
                       let loose the loudest sneeze
                                                    I have heard
                                                     before or since
                                                                 which
                                  (apparently in Thebes)
Is taken as a token from the Thunderer
That the Lord's request is answered
  in the affirmative
And so
    he promptly surrendered
I mused (to Menelaus it was) later
That if the man had instead let forth
                                 a thunderous fart
It could have been seen as misdirection
                 from the Lord of the underworld
                                                                    and
We might have still been camped outside his walls
Which Menelaus thought rather blasphemous

And I whispered this brilliant anecdote
                          (that you will hear in no
                       God-inspired bard's song)
                                        to poor Anticlus
                                (tenderly and softly
                                      as to a lover)
As I wrapped my legs around his
                       pinned his arms
            pinched his nostrils
And clenched his mouth
   until his own sneeze
Died along with him

(March 2021)
             Gravedigger

Glimpsing a future after work
Alone in a little room with screens full of apps
Watching for contact notices to flash in from the right
Streaming any music I want
It is raining
The Cockatoos are agitated
If I leave will I be policed on my way to shop
In the meantime I could garden
If it would stop raining
My tea is cold
Dave Matthews playing Gravedigger

(April 2020)

           
        8.15am
It is 8.15am
20 minutes late into town
In a train affected by wiring
                      melted at Berowra
Red sun choked with dust and smoke
Recirculating with each Northerly
That smell of resin and cooked
                  break pads
It will not rain
The news is fire
The same as yesterday
           orange suits
Labour through
Charcoal stubble fields
      eclipse-dark
People
          stare
Out of windows
As the wind picks up
They say
    it won’t rain
Until February and
That will be too late
(January 2020)
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