(A Sybil; one of the Oracles at Delphi)
I thrust my sword towards the sky,
As mournful cry escapes its anguished tongue.
Its hilt is stained with the tint of sorrow,
And from its blade drips children‚s blood.
In shadowed streets I hear the screams
Of infants stolen from their dreams and put to death
Before their mothers, as sisters for their youngest brothers
Weep without constraint.
In hallowed halls where prayers are said
Hollow words for the dead who hear no more
The beat of wings nor the wind that daybreak brings
In scented waves of ecstasy.
My hand of dread, my sword in deed
Has hastened from the house of bread;
As terror in most hideous form
Strikes the toll of love‚s demise.
Within my grasp the hours erode,
As rust engulfs the gears of time.
From my clasp the night spews forth
And chokes the dawn with its wintry shade.
Flowers fade, their colors scorned
By the fire that is my breath.
Hope dismembered, faith is flung
Upon the pyre that is my shrine;
Yet in a trice when life seems lost,
My sword shall rise like the morning star
And gently wake the child in death,
Restoring mirth once drowned by tears.
John M. Marshall 2004
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