The Ruin

Defiled by Fate, the wondrous masonry,

All city dwellings diminished, the hand-

Wrought work of giants decayed.  Bereft,

The roofs, once majestic; the gate unhinged;

The toppled towers, no longer mighty;

The crystalline mortar bright shines with hoar,

Ruined, all scarred, ev’rything undermined,

Rendered useless with the passage of time.

The noble builders have perished, choked by

The Earth’s stone grip, here no more, long since gone,

A hundred generations departed.

Dusted with lichen and stained, streaked with rust,

Outlasting kingdoms and kings and fierce

Driving storms, despite all, stands tall, the wall.

Strong-bodied, skilled men, resolute in mind;

They fortified the walls with hand-forged rods,

Framing them neatly together.

The city once shone bright with many fine

Public baths, lofty gables stretching skyward.

Great army’s noise below filled mead-halls

With rousing, until the cruel day that Fate

Came crashing down.  Men fell, lay slaughtered all

About as the days of pestilence came,

All the brave were captured by death.  Strongholds

Became desolate as the city was

Destroyed.  The mighty architects and their

Sanctuaries tumbled toward the ground.

And then, in the way the structures decayed

Earthen-red tiles too, fast, fell earthward,

No longer gracing high-reaching domes.

The whole ruin pulverized into piles

Of stone.  Here, ranks once stood, in days of old

Gleaming, bodies gilded and adorned, flushed

Faces toned from the fruit-of-the-vine,

Armor pouring forth brilliance, looking out

Upon vast treasures; abundant silver,

Valuable gems, bounteous wealth and realm,

The brightest city in this widespread kingdom.

Stone halls once stood where fervent water flowed

From the earth, the wall enveloping all,

Bath-pools there, hot at its heart; how fitting

That was.  Hot streams then poured over blocked hoar

Into the circular hold, and hot;.............

There the baths were............., a regal thing, ............

.................this building ,..............this city. 

(Copyright © Marcus S. Berndt, 2001)