So many have come
to the edge of your skirt
demanding the plunder
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
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
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.