Prague 1                                                   
                                                                  
So many have come                                

to the edge of your skirt                          
demanding the plunder                          
of centuries                                              

                                                                 
Each time, maybe                                    
you laid down, willingly or not                 and released the coins, the riches          
they could barely see.                             
                                                                 
You are old indeed and your dark roots
suck at the bones of your enemies and friends, alike.
Your thousand teeth

the closely fitted cobbles
that bite into the ancient ground.
 
I come here to pay respect to endurance,
not the tired centuries of exploitation and gray survival
but the flair with which you arise
adorning yourself dramatically in robes
of gothic cathedrals and windows ready
to catch and shatter the light,
bells that swing gracefully between centuries and
the flight of birds that carry news of your ever-returning

Spring.
 

When the lapping waves of ideology and execution
spill upon your shoes, perhaps your sorrows deepen,
yet the timeless spires that float

above the city
sail the ships of new generations
into a hopeful sky.
 
You rise in such dignity from loss,

from rape, from murder
busily planning the music of regeneration.
You dress yourself in robes of light:
   the red of roof tiles,

the rich embroidery of buildings
the welcome of a thousand carved doors.
 
And once again you prepare the feast
the beautiful tragic feast
   made sweet by your own milk
   made rich by the marrow of your curving alley ways
your elegant bones.
 
We are among the many strangers coming to feast at your table
to receive the sacrifice of centuries,
to feel the layers of time and taste the art you made in rebirth
the music of your many deaths
   to lay our faces

on the old wise stones.
 
May it make us generous, graceful, regenerative.
May it give us the power to arise

in kindness

from the harness of betrayal.


May you teach us to release the damning history
to remember essential beauty,
to dress ourselves exquisitely

in all our darkness
and to use the broken and the whole
to gather light.