I saw sandstone towers, relics of lives
blown over by a desert sky ageless
as the sage brush, relentless as sunlight.
These weathered bricks bear the only witness
of a culture built up against the sky
in harsh defiance of a harsher land.
Castles to match any from the wet lands
made soft by the temperate rain and clouds.
These towers made their stand against the sun
and no one remains to tell their story.
Though one witness does remain – the ravens
those heralds of the heavens prance around
the ruins. They do not speak the secrets
of Hovenweep, for they speak obliquely,
in verses slanted between sky and land.
I heard them there as they danced on those grave
towers, with the same verse they chanted then,
but I caught only one word – “… evermore.”
Evermore the sun will outlast the works
of men? Evermore will birds fly alone?
Evermore the sky? Evermore the wind?
Or were these towers built to sing the song
the ravens sang then and still sing today?
One voice resonating in many throats.
Picked up by the builders and still sung now
in an ancient avian chant:
with all its desert death will grow towers
of life which will dance with ravens in mad
defiance of the monologic sky.
There will always be new voices singing
to the changeless sky that this world will not
remain the same, but shall change evermore.”