Within the pinion walls of city lost to common sight,
burning every evening a bindless passion, riddled in ambition's night.
Outside the siege of this stony city, capital of the center of the world,
against which waves of muscle, mail, and madness, come,
against the ages their meaning hurled.
Within these walls are cuddled, huddled, hammered,
against the castle clamor,
as to and fro the warriors go,
to fight the losing battle.
They are burned, and spit, and pierced, and blooded by axe or sword,
they die on command of heaven's slipping mandate,
the fading emperor's word.
But the taste of ravished rape they will be spared,
the beheadings that follow the plunder that has scared the villages beyond,
where cries of woe have shaken the stars half distant above the clouds.
And on the walls a timble tumble figure turns,
cartwheels and summersaults,
laughing at the towers, and the golden vaults.
That closed within soon to be ripped,
the dynasty's most precious treasure.
Gut pulses with the heaves of fear,
as women gather in the darkened rooms,
to give solace to each other's fortunes, reversed:
the fair fertile yesterday fared better,
soon, tonight, they will fare worse.