By Thomas James Merton 1915–1968
Some one who hears the bugle neigh will know
How cold it is when sentries die by starlight.
But none who love to hear the hammering drum
Will look, when the betrayer
Laughs in the desert like a broken monument,
Ringing his tongue in the red bell of his head,
Gesturing like a flag.
The air that quivered after the earthquake
(When God died like a thief)
Still plays the ancient forums like pianos;
The treacherous wind, lover of the demented,
Will harp forever in the haunted temples.
What speeches do the birds make
With their beaks, to the desolate dead?
And yet we love those carsick amphitheaters,
Nor hear our Messenger come home from hell
With hands shot full of blood.
No one who loves the fleering fife will feel
The light of morning stab his flesh,
But some who hear the trumpet’s raving, in the ruined sky,
Will dread the burnished helmet of the sun,
Whose anger goes before the King.