New Byzantium

            ©Richard Hodges 2016


What is this village, built up not so long ago?

Whose walls, though crude, of mud and sticks,

Stand proud, as if they were the walls of high Byzantium,

Enclosing, like those older walls, great shining things

Of gold and porphyry. And Men whose meditations

Nearly touch the hem of God…but these are rare,

One hardly finds them, hidden in the crush

Of commerce, power, greed, false words.


It is the way of cities to grow great, and then corrupt,

And then the hordes will batter at their walls

And bring them down, never guessing in their war-lust

What holy greatness they destroy.

Is this new village fated to reprise that death?


Will there survive a love-song,

Telling us again how Man and God

Here consummated their affair?