"It is unseemly for the dead to walk the earth..."
So the Sibyl, already dead, walks through the gold. Hands stray from her sides, picking and brushing against the wheat. The field is full. The sun begins to set.
Her shadow casts itself upon the gold and the gold is turned to black. She turns her back to the sun and closes her eyes one last time ... she breathes ... she falls.
"There's nothing more dangerous
Than a man with nothing to lose,
Nothing to live for
And nothing to prove..."
The gladiator bends down, again, to scoop the soil into his scarred and hardened hands. One over the other, rubbing dirt into palms. He brings them slowly up and breathes deep the blood of the last man who fell here. The scent of the animal passed. The breath of a woman who lied. Tired eyes lift. He stands.
(("strength and honor"))
An opponent passes briefly before him - a blur in the corner of a world. Another, to his left, the reflection from a shield momentarily over leather. Something quietly resolved behind brown eyes.
The fight will be here.
"I will show you fear in a handful of dust..."
You are not afraid, little ghost? Your gods have served you well and true. Your progeny have risen before you--fallen--and been raised again. Lazarus hangs on the cross, his burned and bloodied limbs bound to the Ash that bore you. He hangs as both mute reminder and silent witness. He waits.
Darkness walks with the shadows that keep it alive. His breath snuffs
candles and kittens, grandchildren and ghosts. The field and the soil. The wheat and the dirt.
Where are you, little ghost?
"History is made
History is made to seem unfair..."
So the child at the beginning of the world tells himself a story. Whispers quietly to himself the story of the animals, all the animals on the earth-so beautiful, so strange-he never wants them to leave. He wants them always to stay. He wants them to stay...and to play.
The child at the beginning of the world grows to be a man. The child at the beginning of the world looks out over the fields and the plains. The child at the beginning of the world gives all the animals names. One by one.
They were never free again.
The old Caesar waits, fragile, his tent and camp in northern Germania. His armies victorious at last. The sun will never set on Rome. His son will never sit over Rome.
The old Caesar passes--his heritage is brief and straightforward:
The four virtues.