The Byzantine Complex


Come to me, child, and I shall sing to you

the praises of your Lord.

Come to me, and let us wonder

at this marvel of a man.


He rules by sovereign decree:

whatever he says, goes.

His diplomacy is the timbre of his voice;

impassioned devotion, and

irresitible loyalty;

he could stir the pacifist to arms.


He translated the verses of the gods,

in their language of blood and power,

into an anthem dulcet and sweet:

a lullaby soothing the child to slumber,

an angel singing at the maiden's window,

a steady hand to guide the tired worker home,

and the spark to kindle the old mother's hearth.


He cups the people in his hands;

his breath sweeps like life

across their upturned faces;

they look to him with eyes,

eager in their faces of grain,

and he shows them how to see the future.


They do not pray for him,

as he has everything,

for he has the worker's spirit

the father's devotion

and the grandfather's wisdom;

instead they only thank, for

how could we ask anything else, when we have so much?


He rules over a land of magic:

wind-ripped plateaus and islands of herbal lushness,

the upland carpet of tangling vines,

the stormy archipelagos where

you, child, were kissed and cursed:

his country, united and free.


The people have hearts of poverty,

of brotherhood and unity;

their bare feet are used to the sting of gravel;

the piggy banks of our childhood were of tears:

as we were poor, so were they empty.


The bloody sandals of war

cannot touch his ochre shores.

The sun and the sea cannot contend

with the sceptre of passion he wields.


For he is the cobbler's hand-carved tools.

He is the tailor's needle and thread,

the miner's axe, the baker's bread,

the teacher's book, the farmer's plough.

He is your king and what will set you free.


So come, and let us marvel

at this wonder of a man:

let us raise him into the heavens,

and let us trap him within our dreams.