The edge of the sky

 

Tell me a story of ancient times

and tell me the truth:

we, who are young, are old enough

to listen to both.

In and out of my empty skull

flutters the call of a gull.

 

Did we not talk

beneath a Thracian sky

when Alexander ruled in Macedon

and look at stars

which here tonight

we still may look upon?

 

Was it in Samarkand

that many years ago

we bathed our bodies

in the waters of the Zerafshan

where horses from the steppes drank deep and long?

 

Did we not meet again

beneath a tree along the Appian Way

where Spartacus was crucified

and smile to think how small

the world was then?

 

I saw your face again in Syracuse

when I was dragged from Athens in defeat.

 

The night that Scipio came

with half of Rome,

did I not lie with you

in Carthage

long ago?

 

Each time we crossed each others path

we both asked why

though ages passed.

 

Do you remember how

when once we met

beside an endless, sunswept shore

a great sea-eagle left the land

and we pursued it, you and I,

uplifted, outstretched by its confident cry,

till the wings of the bird

touched the edge of the sky?