Gates of the Iron and Clay Empire
What was my maxim? For what did I live
and for what did I perish? Beneath a gold
were my waistlines eternal, and did my neck,
surrounded by jewels, as a night
places the gemstones of planets, moons and
draw a crowd?
Did the fawning nation swoon when
I came out, restless
as an immense sea roaring at the composed
over its correction and manipulation,
harsh as salt waves, euphoric in my mouth.
In what spirit did I rule?
When I spoke words of silver,
what resounded into the room
was swimming and submerging
beneath the waters of a river
no one could cross.
I buried my face in the dust,
I offered my cheek to my enemy,
never passionless or indifferent
my motions carried into deathlessness
at a banquet whereupon death would dance.
Where was I found?
The bronze meadow was my home,
the gem of seas, all seven,
the bear mountain I knew
like the back of my hand, and the
solace of the lace of the fields
I gathered into the hem of my garment.
I touched the waters of meribah
when I drank from the crystal decanter
and forged the way through the wood
for a people: my nation.
What was my figurehead
etched upon a coin? The copper touch piece
was a keepsake and currency of a nation
emaciated and gaunt,
starving for the food of my voice—
resonant and luminous as the fruit of the
My charger went forth, no more than a colt
yet I was a horsewoman.
What I could not imitate of the ardent
I swallowed and said again in my own words,
opening the heavens and descending like an
What was my lady?
The statue was iron-silent, beckoning of
yet elegant in infertility,
a lament with an ode to the sons and
of others, bleak and illustrious—
reflecting horror as a mirror
that would leave us unconfused as to the
separateness of a mother and child.
The figure held a similitude, measuring time
and distance with a tape measure
instead of a scale.
Where did I break, and fall into the heart of
Why did the chasm open to swallow me like
deep beneath the earth.
Infusing me with the gems of nations,
and their varied colors,
I found meaning in the little things,
and recorded the symphonies of nature.
Somehow the movement of the shadows and
over the earth, played like a chord
upon the harp, its stringed note lingering
into the dust of mankind.