Ill-fated crowds neath unchained clouds: the Silent City braved
against a sudden flashing flood, unleashing lashing waves,
which stripped its stony structures, blown with neutron bursts that laved.
Its barren streets, although effete, resound of yesterday
with chit-chat words no longer heard (though having much to say)
since teeming life (at one time, rife), surceased and slipped away.
Within its walls? Whist buildings, tall... Outside the City? Dunes,
which limn its frail forgotten tales, in weird unworldly runes
with symbols strung like halos hung in lifeless, limp festoons.
Above! The dismal ditch of dusk reveals a velvet streak,
through which the winter’s wicked winds will sometimes weave and sneak,
and faraway a cable sways, a bridge clings hushed and bleak.
Thin shadows shift, like silver shafts, throughout the doomed domain
reflecting white, wee wisps of light in ebon beads of bane
which cast a crooked smile across a faceless windowpane.
Wan neon lights glow through the nights, through darkness sleek as slate,
while lanterns (hovered, high above, in silent swinging gait),
whelm ballrooms, bars, bereft bazaars, though no one’s left to fete.
Death's silhouettes show no regrets, 'twixt twilight’s ashen shrouds,
oblivious she always was to cries in dying crowds –
in foggy neap the spirits creep beyond the mushroom clouds.
No ghosts of ones with jagged tongues will sing a silent psalm
nor haunt pale lips with languid quips to pierce the deathly calm,
nor yet redress the emptiness that shifting shades embalm.
The City’s blur? A sepulcher for Christians, Muslims, Jews –
Cathedrals, Temples, vacant now, enshrine their residues,
for churches, mosques and synagogues abide without a bruise.
No cantillation, belfry bells, monastic chants inspire
and Minarets, though standing yet, host neither voice nor crier -
abodes and buildings silhouette a muted spectral choir.
A church’s Gothic ceilings guard the empty pews below
and, all alone amongst the stones, a maiden’s blue jabot.
The Saints, in crypts, though nondescript, grace halos now aglow.
Stray footsteps swarm through church no more (apostates that profane)
though echoes in the nave still din and chalice cups retain
an altar wine that tastes of brine decaying in the rain.
Coiled candle sticks, with twisted wicks, no longer 'lume the cracks -
their dying flames revealed the shame, mid pendant pearls of wax,
when deference to innocence dissolved in molten tracks.
Six steeple towers, steel though now drab daggers in the sky!
Their hallowed halls no longer call when breezes wander by –
for, filled with dread to wake the dead, they've ceased to sough or sigh.
The chapel chimes? Their clapper rope (that tongue-tied confidante)
won’t writhe to ring the carillon, alone and lean and gaunt –
its flocks of jute, now fallen mute, adorn the holy font.
No saints will come with jagged tongues to sing a silent psalm
nor bless pale lips with languid quips to pierce the deathly calm,
nor pray for mercy, grace deferred, nor beg lethean balm.
Beyond the suburbs, farmers’ fields (where donkeys often brayed)
inhale gray gusts of barren dust where living seed once laid
and in the haze a scarecrow sways, impaled upon a *****.
Green trees gone dark in palace parks (where kids once paused to play),
watch lifeless things on phantom swings (like statues made of clay)
guard marbled tombs in graveyards groomed for grievers bent to pray.
And castle clocks, unwound, defrock with speechless spinning spokes,
unfurling blight of reigning Night by sweeping off her cloaks,
and flaunting dun oblivion, her Baroness evokes.
The sun-bleached bones of those who'd flown lie scattered down the lanes
while other souls who’d hid in holes left bones with yellow stains
of plaintive tears (shed insincere, for no one felt the pains).
The wraiths that scream in sleepless dreams have ceased to terrify
though terrors wrought by conscience fraught now stalk and lurk nearby
within the shrouds of curtained clouds, frail fabrics on the sky.
And fog no longer seeps beyond the edge of doom’s café,
for when she trails her mourning veils, she fills the cabaret
with sallow smears of misty tears in sheets of shallow gray.
The City’s still, like hollowed quill with ravished feathered vane,
baptized in floods of spattered blood, once flowing through a vein.
The fruits of life, destroyed in strife... ’twas truly all in vain.
No umbras hum with jagged tongues nor sing a silent psalm
nor lade pale lips with languid quips to pierce the deathly calm –
they've seen, you see, life’s brevity, beneath a neutron bomb.
Beyond the Silent City’s walls, the victors laugh and play
while celebrating PEACE ON EARTH, the devil’s sobriquet
for neutron radiation death in places far away.