The Unreal City
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker
In a dream I walked though the unreal city,
Down streets that were silent and desolate.
Stone faces gazed on me without pity,
although I was poor and desperate.
They gazed from towers of marble and glass,
and watched as I wandered the empty lanes.
No one restrained me, they let me pass,
and then returned to their flickering screens.
Over the doors were the names of power:
Xanadu Bank, Mammon Securities,
Ozimandius Insurance Tower,
Iscariot’s Purse Global Equities.
I watched the towers grow and multiply,
and rise up in splendid magnificence:
Alabaster palaces in the sky,
for lords of omniscient opulence.
The towers stood--powerful and permanent.
Ageless against the swirling clouds,
their steel and concrete reigned omnipotent
over the helpless, huddled, plodding crowds.
Overwhelmed, I stumbled along afraid,
and came upon a garden in a square.
A lawn was surrounded by an arched arcade,
An ancient stone fountain stood sentry there.
I sensed a solemn silence in the sun,
except for one white bird still singing low.
On the side, a stairway beckoned down
To subterranean passages below.
I stepped into the darkness and I found
a vast vault above a bottomless abyss.
Light filtered in; and littered all around,
were bones and skulls--scraps of human nothingness.
Then looking up, I saw that the vaults,
spreading far and supporting the city floor,
were ancient, brittle and riddled with faults,
undermining what seemed so real and secure.
I saw how the towers of glass and steel
were built on arches of emptiness.
Their glamor and power were all unreal,
like specters conjured from the dark abyss.
Then I felt a tremor, and in my dream,
an earthquake shook the city, and it broke.
Souls fell into the dark. I heard them scream
as the towers crumbled into dust and smoke.
I rose and returned to the cloistered square,
and waited while the dread and terror passed.
I determined to dwell in safety there,
and build a humble household that would last.
Writing From Other Cultural Perspectives Encourages Empathy and Understanding - In order to help readers imagine life in a different era or from different cultural perspectives, writers of historical fiction must do in-depth research...