The summer dawn came over-soon,
The earth was like hot iron at noon
There fell no rain to ease the heat,
And dusk drew on with tired feet
And stifled breath.
The shop was low and hot and square,
And fresh-cut wood made sharp the air,
While all day long
The saw went tearing thru the oak
That moaned as tho’ the tree’s heart broke
Beneath its wrong.
The narrow street was full of cries,
Of bickering and snarling lies
In many keys
The tongues of Egypt and of Rome
And lands beyond the shifting foam
Of windy seas.
Sometimes a ruler riding fast
Scattered the dark crowds as he passed,
And drove them close
In doorways, drawing broken breath
Lest they be trampled to their death
Where the dust rose.