Black crows sail the purple sky.
Clouded mass of scattered black,
Circling round and plummeting down like
Shooting stars – burnt out; ash.
But see them rise again; bolting back,
Like acrobats from distant Mars.
Look at how they steal this night, winged as bats;
And skilled as the throat of the messenger lark.
The sun, our eternal halo,
Rolls back gold through rows of leafy,
Stark and jagged spires.
Behold our holy star! – as it lays down blue,
Purple; mauve; at the feet of this
Shepherded crowds move out to see this blackness rise.
Oh, how I could marry this night!
These midnight hills, like rolled-up steel;
Nature’s amphitheatre flanking every side.
A city lies,
Emerald towers, terracotta hollows and that
Saintly marble white.
And now appear the little lights
– threading constellations across this site.
Surely some primal angel came down to bless this place,
This honorous height;
A jewel-encrusted valley,
Drawing-in these thousand pilgrims,
– James Dee Clayton.