The Coliseum Collage

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    The Coliseum Collage

    The spectators all wear white,
    the same color
    cloaking their head in cloth.

    A gladiator,
    calm and leather clad,
    feeds something tasteless
    to a curious,
    whose appetite
    seems never satisfied.

    Are the spectators on trial?
    Is  there a trial?

    Someone in the audience shouts,
    “When do the games begin!?”
    The spectators,
    chattering away
    like any patient crowd,
    yet deliberately take little notice.

    The Hermit though,
    squatting against the sandstone wall
    of an empty walkway,

    “The Emperor starts the games,”
    he mutters to himself.

    * *

    Underneath (where no one can look),
    many felt that generations would pass
    within these very walls,
    and that somehow
    the game was already afoot.
    Why else were they there,
    dressed in their simple yet holiday best?

    Some wandered, some waited,
    others held optimistic candles
    to music
    they did not understand,
    but hoped to like.

    At times, a rush of anticipation
    would sweep the crowd,
    like a warm wind
    waving across a ripe field
    of golden wheat.
    The spectators would sit.
    Some would sigh;
    and gladiators would take positions
    that they somehow knew
    without apparent rehearsal.

    * *

    A gleaming chariot bursts through the gates,
    on schedule,
    kicking up grand dust of who knows who.
    The crowd jumps to its feet
    cheering loudly
    sending startled
    civil birds
    to flight.

    “It’s as if the whole world were here,”
    beams the charioteer,
    smiling broadly,
    at his peak of glory.

    The Sun,
    brightly accenting his polished armor,
    enhances his magnificence.

    Have the games begun?

    Unnoticed, the Fool,
    always ready to miss something,
    drops a red petal from his high perch
    on the coliseum wall.

    It wafts down, like a slow eternity
    — which it is —
    falling to rest
    with a soft, cosmic,
    on the Persian rug floor
    of a dream,
    where the wisdom of the wise,
    and the wizard,
    and the doubtful
    goes unnoticed by all
    but the closest at hand.

    The soft sound echoes,
    like tiny feet
    pattering down
    the sky-blue
    of infinity:
    The music
    to which they dance.

    And dance they do.
    Behind the lyrics of joy and sadness,
    of daily expectation,
    runs the rhythm of hope
    and of ungraspable understanding
    and ecstasy.

    “Will the music ever cease?”
    softly muses the Hermit,
    nodding, and turning to
    climb the ancient stairs.

    “It is the song of lovers.”

    Night came;
    the lights of the coliseum
    went dark.
    gladiators and spectators alike,
    slept in place,
    in full dress,
    awaiting the morning,
    while the rhythm continued,
    pulsing softly,
    beneath them.


    Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Michelle Young

    The imagery of the Tarot is wonderful, Michael! Thank you!

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