And Yet He Guards the Ruined World

And yet he guards the ruined world,

hearing echoes of long-dead men,

the clang and rattle of long buried swords,

the screams and moans of pleasure and pain.

 

He smells the candles in the temple,

And the perfumes of the maidens,

And the poisons of the traitors,

And the flesh he’s burned in battle.

 

The laughter of the children rings

through the cavernous passages.

 

The hawking of wares in the marketplace

shout in abandoned streets.

 

He is king over ashes,

and rulerĀ of rubble,

with broken towers hisĀ castle,

and cracked and blackened bones his subjects.

 

The scavengers that remain

give him obeisance, and

bow and scrape for leave to

hunt scraps.

 

But on the watching wall he stands,

constant as the cosmos,

unyielding as stone,

unchanging as what has been

written before…

 

Unfettered, he is free to fly

and soar and kill and burn

 

And yet he guards the ruined world,

Until it stops to turn