This is not madness,
I dance between them, in the flames
that danced so long before my eyes.
They burn my city, fire and death,
fire and destruction, fire and fall,
fire and long levers, broken stones,
fire and release, fire drinks us all,
and I have watched so very long.
Yes, I am mad.
Who else could watch this, laughing?
Who else knows the tune
to sing this flame to sleep?
Who else could even tell where to step?
You are not even cruel, Lord.
You told me it would be
too much for me.
And you were right.
They always say I am mad when all time runs together.
This is the bridge, pretty lady.
(Why did he bring you to us?)
See, diamond on sapphire, breaking wave?
See sea surge through deadly rocks?
Can you know this gift for a mirror?
From this wall we can see all the way
to Lemnos. There is no help coming.
I have always liked to walk up here,
one incautious step
from being dashed to death.
She would never let him play on the walls,
because she asked me and I told her.
She heard me, and she couldn’t hear.
Keeping him down couldn’t stop him falling.
Death is never avoidable.
Choices made can not be changed,
or I would change the choice I made.
You laugh too? Is this your light?
Is this burning your burning?
You warned me Lord, and I did not hear you.
Stories are simple, only one thing happens at a time.
There was no time before,
though there was a time I chose,
and I did not choose knowing.
If this was a story that would be the beginning.
I will bleed on her bloodstained floor,
beneath the Lion Gate, with her dead husband.
All that I feel comes forward to me, backward
as time flows over me and I cry aloud.
If this was a story that would be the end.
The city burning. Always I’ve known that.
Shadowed in colonnades, the ash, the fallen stones.
Grass will grow before my father’s throne.
I cannot wear jewels, may I pick some flowers?
Sometimes I am mad, for it is past bearing.
If this was a story that would be the time
I tell it, in between the fires
when I am wild and laughing
the one free moment with nobody
listening and not believing.
There are patterns in falling water, in the clouds,
the shapes of sunlight, and most of all in fire.
Time coming onward.
There were patterns in her hair
that wove a net to burn my city.
In his dark eyes I saw the war, the dying men,
the ships, the swords, the funeral pyres,
the flickering flames, the broken towers,
the striding lords who made us slave
You know my brothers, Lord?
Forty-nine of them were good men.
In living eyes I saw their several deaths.
You know my sisters and my brothers’ wives?
I saw those left alive get dragged away.
I wish I could be mad and need not know
that all I care for ends in crashing rock,
in death and fire and ash and dust and death.
If this was a story that would be the tragedy,
I knew it all the time and nobody could hear.