“Why do Monsters Cease?”

 

The town wore dust as some wear skies,

Its buildings barely stood on props.

The crumbling had been centuries long.

A rootless people drifted through.

 

Around the town the maquis spread

Obscuring tablets pressed with tales,

And ancient bricks which burnt and broke:

The merest trace of palace walls.

 

Its stories scattered through the world,

With sails for wings and widening eyes.

They drifted off beyond the earth,

Became a breath, became a fear.

 

The truth lies lost beneath the scrub:

A pile of bones reduced to chalk.

 

(The title is from Seneca: Phaedra, 173ff)

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