The Wall Knower

By Ayrton Monteiro

Detail from “Belshazzar’s Feast” by Rembrandt, 1635-1638
In days old they the knowers
Shaped the walls with inscriptions blue
Of also old lessons high
That as night-hawks flew
Despairing the children among
The graves and songs.

Their shadowy letters glistening
The twilight white was not enough
To uncover its secret.

But he said: — I know them,
the letters that themselves talk,
the symbols blue that frighten
and that which
they dream about.

And died with his knowing
Stroke dead, found
By the written walls
Greatly wounded one
As his blood flamingly spoke.

We buried him, there
At the gazing walls
And their mystery —
Since then his phantom
Howls as night-wolfs
A shame to
The mumbling letters, cold.