Black briars twine around the bronze dome of Beauty’s tower,
and the king’s court sleeps,
while the black wind hustles through the shutters
and mice muddle in the pantry.
Fifty years, and the prince rides nearer.
Hope is glass chimes and insect wings
fluttering in the wind. Faith
is the olive branch flowering in the storm.
Now mountains tremble under metal tracks
and trains run through the jungle
to the desert,
where dark-skinned men seek truth.
And the eclipse drowns out the sound
of cities cringing from the sea,
until aqueducts crumble beneath the weight of the sky
and steel rails wither in the light.
Tall men putter through space, seeking a new world
for their flags and stones.
But far away, ragged armies wait for the dawn,
and their spears gleam in the sun.