Amid the grasslands charred of brush and tree,
Of brightly-plumèd wing and flower left,
And crackling ash in place of melody
From beaks and rustling drifted, now bereft,
The blackened frames of animal-skin tents
By brilliant-painted homes the torches turned,
Intruding with their billowing, rotten scents
On the prairie's breath beneath clouds drawn and burned,
The chieftain proud stands strapped by rusted bands,
His back upon a pointed totem's face,
Left there, one living yet among those lands,
To watch in static survey their disgrace,
His silken, downy hair with cinders thick,
The ancient, sky-lent necklace-pieces stained
With soot and daughters, hung by spirits sick
In their sundered fields, by flame-set mourning pained.
Around him flicker jaggèd posts of fire
That cloud the smog-sewn night behind their blaze,
Like embers on the rolling meadow's pyre,
Enthralling him in a grief-exhausted daze,
Reflecting on the glossy, orange skin
That holds them, shaking hard in tightened grasps,
Advancing through the dust and armor's din,
Shuddering in their keepers' sputtering gasps.
A figure halts past stagnant, searing smoke,
The inferno at his hand engulfing steel
In its dazzling light of red as this it spoke,
With a voice its victim's stupored fright made real:
"Submit, ye foulest daemon, and repent!
Kneel down upon this consecrated ground!
Pray to our Lord, or know your soul's descent!
Praise God, or guilty in His Grace be found!"