Ibis of Palmyra, a poem

 

Palmyra

Dhwty, sing ancient voices

searching stars for meaning,

eyes upon gleaming

crescent, lunar forces,

black and white film still,

a curved ibis bill.

 

Lunar forces hauling wine-dark

oceans across inky skies,

bewitching ancient eyes,

who saw an ibis stark

against the starry night,

wings raised in flight.

 

Mighty mediator, Thoth,

calculator on high,

weaving papyrus sky,

sun-kissed pith-cloth,

bill dipped in ink,

father of those who think –

 

think and write in words

with winged helms, hurled

from world to world,

the free and vital birds

flying with bills sharper

than needles of fir.

 

But now black feathers

shimmer in moonlight

setting desert alight,

littering a city in fetters:

Geronticus eremita,

prisoner of Palmyra.

 

Single sunset eye burns

in darkness, searching,

seeking, lurching

swish hrump through ferns

and shrubs of steppes

steeped in silence-webs.

 

Soft in silky quiet

ibis pauses and prowls

when wind howls

and hosts of stars riot,

alone with pillars of stone

and towers of bone.

 

Last to give way to howling

hurricane, first to emerge

when hell subsides, scourge

of darkness, prowling

ibis, Noah’s charm

survives unharmed.

 

Echoes haunt dhwty city,

voices of forgotten empires

ravaged by time’s fires,

soaked in world’s pity –

and the ibis stands,

silent in the sands.

 

It was the silk road – once.

Conduit for ivory, porcelain,

salts, spices, gold, cotton…

but ibis hears no response

to her hrump and hyoh calls,

just echoes from empty halls.

 

Temples of lost gods,

buried Roman blades,

and corinthian colonnades

stand now in muddy bogs,

pale phantoms frozen

in the blaze of erosion.

 

Yet still the ibis lays

her spotty blue-white eggs,

as blue as her legs are red,

in the rocky maze

of the northern dunes

above the Valley of Tombs.

 

But where ibis prowl

hatred-seeds be strewn,

and around our crescent moon

barbarian shadows crowd,

for murderers cage worlds

as rhyme shackles words.

 

So murderers return

to carve out Palmyra’s doom,

to destroy and exhume –

a band of thugs armed

with the sordid black rag

they call their flag.

 

Ibis eradicated by plague,

crescent neck snapped,

by barbarians entrapped,

rage staining papyrus page,

silence slammed

onto the waste land.

 

Now all that remain

are the tortured ghosts

haunting the outposts,

and the inexpressible pain

of a land locked in fetters,

littered with black feathers.

Jungian synchronicity. Dhwty city.

Dhwty  dhwty  dhwty

Ibis