I. The Night

  I remember an old city, red walls and battlements, on the immense plain burnt out from the August heat, with the far-away spongy cold comfort of green hills in the background. Enormous emptiness of bridge-arches over the stagnant river dried to thin leaden puddles: a black moulding of mosquitoes shifting and silent along the banks: among the dazzle and glare of a distant cane-brake the far-off naked figures of teen-age boys and the Hasidic beard of an old man: and suddenly out of the midst of the dead water the mosquitoes came and a song, primordial dirge from the voiceless swamp monotonous and irritating: and time ground down and held still.