I WALKED among the streets of an old city and the streets were lean as the throats of hard seafish soaked in salt and kept in
barrels many years.
How old, how old, how old, we are:the walls went on saying, street walls leaning toward each other like old women of
the people, like old midwives tired and only doing what must be done.
The greatest the city could offer me, a stranger, was statues of the kings, on all corners bronzes of kingsancient
bearded kings who wrote books and spoke of Gods love for all peopleand young kings who took forth armies out
across the frontiers splitting the heads of their opponents and enlarging their kingdoms.
Strangest of all to me, a stranger in this old city, was the murmur always whistling on the winds twisting out of the armpits
and fingertips of the kings in bronze:Is there no loosening? Is this for always?
In an early snowflurry one cried:Pull me down where the tired old midwives no longer look at me, throw the bronze of me
to a fierce fire and make me into neckchains for dancing children. 5