Here is the place where we made our covenant with God.
Watery meadow, grey-green in the dew of springtime dawn. Suffused by soft mist, quiet, eternal-seeming. We till the chalk-flecked soil, and the world is changing. Aliens, in perfect linen, their braided hair. Leather and iron, the corrective slap of short sword.
We do not question this yoke of enlightenment. We merely live and grow. Far away, these tyrants nailed a man to a cross. But what of it?
And yet in time, whether benefactors or oppressors, we are sundered from them, flown to their distant east. We falter, sloughed in our reeking marshes, chapped on our windswept hills. Halting scripture, vestige of administration, all forgotten. Craft is petrified, culture sleeps.
And comes another despot, and another. Waves from the east, different waves. Blue-eyed fire-brigand, plaited beard and buckler. Pious man of horse, mail-clad and high-helmed. New objects of veneration, masons exhorted to clutch at the sky.
Ten thousand broken in fashioning a canopy of stone. Crystallised sunlight, burnished gold, wafts of incense. Soporific cadence of devotion, inferences of divinity amid this poor facsimile of the trees.
Sober kings and their fine courts, all riches and poison. The meadow once tilled, now scarified. Midden and rude dwelling, dank pool and boneyard. Deeds and titles, labels of servitude. Education dividing, classifying.
Advocacy and justice, the creak of the scaffold. Nature in harness, mine and mill. A world opening, its horizons collapsing. The adversity of cultures, proselytising zeal.
Mechanised war, burgeoning conurbations, smoke and sanitation. The zenith of capital, the decadence of experience. Levelling of walls, dissolving of borders. Ends versus means, politics versus people.
No more the meadow. Here is suburb of neat brick, efficient consumerism, week-end car-washing, televisual revelation.
What of the covenant now?
Still it holds.
Our morality, our civilisation, living and growing.
In time, these virtues ever break the shackles of man-made code.
Religion is stasis.
Capitalism excuses greed.
Engines and guns are tools, not rights.
To profess certainty is to lie.
Poverty is intolerable.
Our children's opportunity is our sole responsibility.