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.



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