Silence descends like a curtain,
shrouding the land, inert in heat
and history. This is locust country,
no matter borne on wings or feet.
The river minds its inventory
of fable, back into the far uncertain.
Silence descends, its shadow swallowing
the skits and masques of earlier farce,
stage cleared of all but the man:
only the desert shifts in this sparse
theatre, wayward wind against sand.
The calm will herald the blowing.
Soon the horizon darkens, and a hum
or murmur gives life to cloud, dust
spangled with glints of steel, clock
racing with hooves: till a spear’s thrust
makes mud of human rock.
And silence closes, till the armies come.