Here, where the thin scrim of symbols sloughs off,
Where the wall, and the well, and the great gate gather
Concentrate and consecrate
The raw brutality of power.

Here, now, we assemble the statues and bibelots,
Gather in glass cases with the patina of age
The old collections, the elegant distractions,
Timeworn knicknacks, out-dated heirlooms.

And yet the same sun beats down hard
To gather on the same red tile and golden stone
The piled up centuries of one day’s sun at a time
That lead from there to here.

Ten languages, a sculpted nymph, the curve of an arm,
Visitors gather around carved cannon, smiling,
This season’s wars keep fighting far away,
But the well and the wall endure.

24th August 2023