Saturday, April 01, 2006

This Place's Memories

Let it be understood--
this chronicle is not complete.
Someone else may write the final stanzas.
Read on, if you will
or let it pass as work in progress.
Some people don't care for unfinished stories.

Look now. What do you see?
Marble columns fallen at the water's edge.
Old flagstones all upheaved like broken teeth,
though no tree roots lift them-- no trees grow here.
The ribs of the great dome are shattered stark against the sky
rain drips and moans among them.
No rooms, no halls, no skeleton of a building.
Building-stones lie in the sand like scattered knuckle-bones
bound by sinewy sea-grass.
What unlife stalks these remains? At sunset,
one ray of level light beneath the clouds
strikes scarlet gleams from wet stone
bloodshot eyes glaring from white bone sockets.

Don't linger here too long,
this story may go on and on.
Don't write the next verse in blood on unforgiving stone.
Don't shake these ancient bones--
leave them alone.

The rain is past. The tide is turning.
Puddles reflect the changing moon.
You smell the smoke of ancient burning.
Old stones echo to some sad old tune.
This place's memories are etched in stone
or graved in bone, never to be changed,
but strangely softened, blurred by time and rain.
Old pain, slow-fading, still old paths retraces.
Water cannot console, but will in time erase
the stone, and bone, and ashen memories of this place.

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