Whoever brought you down
Never understood you.
They shouted into the starless night
That your walls and towers are no more,
And danced and drank celebrating
The death of the elaborated world
Of dance and drink.
Morning found them
Don black robes and march,
Heads bowed, to where their faceless god
Keeps them in check
Under its unforgiving eye.
In narrow tents, on barren hills they squat,
Squabbling about every piece of green
On their parched land, listening, in shallow, dry dreams
To winds howling red-blood dust. I loved you
Babylon. Brimming with scrolls
Were our libraries. Each generation
Pullulated the city
With kin eyes and sharp minds
And each grew looking
Into the ground
And up into the sky and recognised
Endless order and calm. Ours was
Progress and ours were joys, ours were all colours of live:
Artful thieves, cries in the alleys, and laughter,
Laughter in pubs and flowered squares and this
Will never go away, no matter how hard they try
To mangle us under heavy books of their history.
I loved you, Babylon. Let them teach
Their children a lie,
Even for a thousand years –
No babble will change what really happened here.
Songs, dances, argufying –
I remember the world
Happy in its natural freedom.
A girl in a colourful dress twirled once
Around a boy, already conquered, their eyes
Sending out sparks of unlimited love
In the quiet of the hanging garden.
Yes, I do remember it all but do not lament you.
The dream of freedom never dies
Though it might need to go
Into hiding. Many rains may have to pass
But they will blet and you will be
Reborn as some city or other.