“The Republic of Silence may now most rightly be called,
In the fullest and truest sense, a continent.
There once were scholars there, who isolated themselves
In the pursuit of philosophy;
And there did also exist a confederation of kings,
But they were blind and deaf;
Wherefore the ocean at that spot
Has now become impassable and unsearchable…”
This is how it happened: Television commercials took off
Like fighter planes from an aircraft carrier that day,
But they couldn’t stop the silence.
My mind was finally blank.
The republic was moving.
Senators were shifting position,
Populares switching seats with Optimates
Or abandoning the benches altogether.
Governments dissolved and reformed within the space of minutes,
Paralyzing political life and delaying economic reform;
Causing the entire house to turn, pillars trembling, windows cracking,
Making the floor tiles skate and shake like plates in a quake,
Until finally in a single day and night of misfortune
The very foundations of the continent snapped like twigs,
Setting the land mass adrift
In total quiet.
Away, away - past the pillars of Heracles and beyond,
Through Mundus Subterraneus & Terrae Incognitae,
To the silent land which lies icebound beneath the pole-star.
And there I was. My mind was finally blank.
Tired and grimy, smoking a cigarette in the early hours of morning,
Sitting up in the rear of the truck, with my back to the canvas,
Alone with the sunrise, the only man awake out of twelve.
I remember the sound of the truck.