The winter nights had scarred the grass,
So daylight owls could scatter voles
By drifting up before the sun
And lazing on the barrack poles.
They came from many different worlds:
We saw them, heard them, speak in tongues.
They walked the land on rigid lines.
They sacrificed to moonless gods.
They came and raised their camp in view:
We’d smell the roasting fires at night.
They washed and burned the heavy rocks,
They drew their water from the spring.
The owl brings panic with its flight,
The Romans keep their torches bright.