Deserted streets lie draped in dusk and yarns of yesterday,
with silent sounds no longer heard (though having much to say)
since teeming life, abundant once, surceased and slipped away.
Against a sudden sullen burst (unleashing lashing waves
that washed the Silent City clean with radiance that laves),
neath soothing suds so soft and mild, the stony structure braves.
Within the walls, whist buildings, tall... outside the City, dunes...
they mime a soon forgotten tale, once written, carved in runes
on broken skies, like halos hung, reflections of the moon’s.
Though churches, mosques and synagogues abide without a bruise
the City’s now a sepulcher for Christians, Muslims, Jews –
Cathedrals, Temples, vacant now, enshrine their residues.
A church’s Gothic ceilings guard the empty pews below,
and blowing there above the bones, a maiden’s blue jabot.
The Saints, in crypts and catacombs grace halos still aglow.
Steel chapel chimes! The clapper rope (that tongue-tied confidante)
won’t writhe to ring the carillons, alone and lean and gaunt –
stray flocks of jute, like downy dregs, adorn the holy font.
With footsteps in the church no more (apostates that profane),
the echoes in the nave have gone, though chalice cups remain –
instead of wine, stale liquid drops decaying back to rain.
No face appears with jagged tongue to sing a silent psalm
or paint pale lips with languid laughs to pierce the deathly calm –
or pray for mercy, grace, reprieve, or beg lethean balm.
Continued in Part 2
SURCEASE: to come to an end
LAVE: to bathe
WHIST: hushed, silent, still
RUNES: (mysterious, magical) characters/symbols of ancient alphabets
JUTE: fiber used to make rope
LETHEAN (pronounced “li-THEE-uhn”): inducing forgetfulness, oblivion