Steel-blue at birth, cooling
into yellow with maturity, sore red on the deathbed,
halos once emanated above every human
head. Hardly visible beneath
the noonday sun, glowing
like ripened lemons in shade, spectral
and uncertain under the fog—the cry of the watch
along the wallstead, "Halos on the road,"
and the city gates slowly cranked open.
Like flesh and mind, halos
diminished and lost their brilliance,
witches and soothsayers in the sickroom
reading circular augurs of light—a coppery color
indicating malignancy within
the organs, tinge of green at the outer
aura sign of good hope,
hue of orange meaning frenzy within the soul
or heart or both, with no cure.
Like flesh also, halos dimmed and sagged
into wrinkles and crow's feet,
dripping like red candle wax around the face,
eyes imprisoned behind crimson bars of light. It was said
the oldest and wisest had halos as low
as their throats and homes were established
for those such as this, though most refused
to pass beyond those doors, dying
alone behind the bars of their halos.
No one knows for sure when the era
of halos ended; some say with a flood,
others with fire, others with nothing at all
except Time which owns all things
until they are as broken as sand,
for Time creates the stuff of which it consists
and thus is eternal. Not so with halos,
which faded away to the moans of soothsayers
prophesying that heretics would gain ascendancy
claiming humans were created not with light but clay,
the filth of the world animated into traitorous
worshippers of the burning
sun, sole light above the head.
For such ravings the aged soothsayers themselves
were declared heretics and banished
to the night and the wilderness, senile eyes weeping
behind molten laurels, a host of silent
halos along the wallstead watching every step of the way.