The tumbril creaks and rumbles on
Upon the road of Slate,
Retracing rutted Years of sand
Whose distance Storms debate.
Its passengers stand fixed as stone
While faces cheer from Snow.
The blade awaits its midday meal,
When Above becomes Below.
Innovations carved from clouds
Give despair and dance New measures.
The blade reflects its evening meal
When kings slake peasants’ pleasures.
Arrived at Hope they gaze towards mist
Where granite horses roam.
Their schedules as fixed as Dark.
Their future — White as bone.
The Head within the Basket sees
Vast Parliaments of Sky.
Its ears hear but the fading surf
Where the past gone years reply.
** The Ancien Régime was the monarchic, aristocratic, social and political system established in the Kingdom of France from approximately the 15th century until the latter part of the 18th century (“early modern France”) under the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The term is occasionally used to refer to the similar feudal social and political order of the time elsewhere in Europe. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts (like the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts), internal conflicts and civil wars, but they remained a confusing patchwork of local privilege and historic differences until the French Revolution ended the system.