Amidst the brokenness, the fallen,
There rests a city.
Beautiful in its emptiness,
Lonely in its stillness.
I walk alone through pebbled streets,
the wind whistling in my ears.
For millennia this fallen city was buried,
a mere shadow of its former glory.
I wonder how they lived.
The gods they worshipped.
I wonder if Dionysus laughed as he watched his patron city go mad,
drowning in sex and violence and wine.
I wonder how his Maenads lived,
forever dancing to the same drunken tune.
I can still see gladiators wrestling in the arena,
men watching with wine in one hand and a woman in another.
I can imagine the theatre filled with thousands of people,
their eyes glazed, but their laughter loud.
I can hear people bustling in the forum,
their days passing in the same routine.
All of this – gone in a second.
The eternity they once held doomed to one of stone and fire.
An earthquake shattered the stones, cracked the paths,
The city of debauchery into a city of ruins.
As I touch the stones beneath my feet,
tracing the mosaic,
I can feel the hum of mortality in the air,
as fresh as it was nine thousand years ago.
March 23, 2017