Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Mason

In a single sinister voice
they sent a silent slave
to seek him
in his solitude.

Startled, he surfaced
in their muddled mist.
Confused by their voices,
he followed them
to their throne room.
He wore a cotton singlet
and a black leather apron.
In his bare arms
he carried
a steel square,
a bronze trowel,
and a ball of cotton string.

They cheered his mathematics,
then led him through narrow streets
to a secluded clearing,
where, using a marble slab,
he drew a diagram
on rice papyrus
with a goose quill
and octopus ink.

he drove silver stakes
into red clay
with an iron hammer.

He stretched string
stuttering a sibilant sound.

They heard a command
for water, manure, clay and straw.
They set the slaves to stamping;
they fired ceramic kilns,
while he dreamed
the dimensions
of the dome.

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