ode to troy or iraq or the next place

    Starlings wheel over stone. This time of year, with the lone
    and level sky bare as the ground, even scavengers move on.
    Of course the birds don't know this; their instinct to nest
    is more compelling than their hunger, and they will not rest
    unless they happen on some hollow cactus or rusted chassis
    to lay their eggs and build a careful future in. Not much easily
    available these days, although these flats were once a grove
    wild with wings, and the tall thatched roofs they so love
    muscled all the way to the mountains, thickening the plains
    with kitchen fires, echoes of moonglow, half-heard strains
    of what could pass for birdsong chittering in cribs of light
    multitudinous as the stars, as a minstrel's tongue might
    put it. Must have been quite a place then. A real destination.
    A city to be seen, difficult to picture now;  the imagination
    staggers between the storybook marble, the gilded rooms,
    and this bald nothing. Less than little remains: no tombs,
    foundations, fragments of mosaic, stumps, some fossil mark
    to measure passing, flags of bone, a code of blemishes, dark
    with age and mummified but readable.  The ancients named
    this blankness tabula rasa. The clean slate. A chance reclaimed
    through grace or war to recompose a civilisation’s fate.
    Some believe it happened to the Neanderthals: a failed state
    miscarried, supplanted, absorbed, reduced to evidence
    of absence, the politics of starlings, forensic science.
    Others see intent. A reset. It is the best of all possible
    worlds; truth and quiet. Certain invasive species become viable.
    By appetite or design the vultures soon return to this eden
    of eventual plenty.  Weeds crack ground in the wet season.

     (Revised May 2010)

13 November 2003   01:05 hours
parable of sunset { } how like you this?