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Did you ever wander

 

Among the winking

 

Cobwebbed nooks

 

Of times gone by,

 

Among the darkened, wind-shifting streets,

 

Or else leaf through

 

Broken backed and faded books

 

On the forgotten shelf?

 

Or peer at a copper plate

 

Of unremembered scripts

 

Of ancient deeds

 

And hero tales long left

 

Unsung,

 

Or drift among those lost stone gods,

 

Their noses knocked asunder

 

By mortar fire

 

In some unmentionable war,

 

Or, through rain that falls in opalescent sheets,

 

Seek out temples entrenched under

 

The thick jungled trunks of time, of seeding pods, and twilit weeds,

 

Or visit deep in crypts

 

Where rest the tales, in a lost urn,

 

Of eons flown,

 

Of higher, rainbowed hallways in the sky

 

Where gods and beings once had shone

 

When trees were worshipped,

 

As they ought to be,

 

When holy rocks

 

And elf

 

And giant

 

Roamed among the crowds

 

Of shimmering lilies in the mist,

 

Where deer run free

 

And hummingbirds hover

 

In the half-lit glimmer of the dancing dawn

 

On those wildflowered ilses – still untouched, radiant –

 

Or have you

 

Heard coursing hooves ringing

 

Through the starbright forest

 

Of a green-mossed eternity,

 

And did you ever gasp

 

To glance back

 

At the paltry present time that seemed

 

So suddenly all awry,

 

So shorn of grace?

 

Look now – a poor cut-out,

 

A false façade,

 

A parody concocted of every chemical,

 

Torn metal,

 

And toxic dust,

 

A humdrum bar-coded day,

 

Bereft of meaning,

 

Meant to squander,

 

And nights of mechanical terror

 

That grate

 

Against the soul,

 

Though all quite scientific and practical,

 

Of course.

 

Did you ever find the present world a little lacking?

 

Cars chrome-bright, junkyards of rust,

 

Oil wells bubbling

 

And spewing out the oddest orange river,

 

Computer graphics jingling a frantic caper,

 

Medical mirages, ill-inducing potion and pill?

 

War-cratered skeletons

 

Of cities loom at the edge of the shattered rim,

 

Lies and lies and weary doom

 

And here comes death – grim and dreary –

 

Tripping after.

 

A clanking alleyway

 

Where the faltering march

 

Of the bedraggled lout,

 

The troll,

 

Plunges on and on

 

Into the dank and danker

 

Cellars of caustic confusion

 

(Where now the shack

 

On the hill

 

That slipped

 

Into the mist

 

Where strangers from a far star

 

Sought shelter?)

 

Did you ever watch that oft-trod stairway

 

From the first magic light of stars, fall

 

Down, down into the iron pits of delusion,

 

Of nowhere at all,

 

Where darkness dwells and nothing more?

 

And did you ever wonder

 

When will the thunderclouds gather again

 

And the wind fiercely roar,

 

Dragon-winged in snow

 

And sleet,

 

Spilling rain

 

Across the open plain

 

Like the glad-running,

 

Unshod

 

Feet

 

Of the wild horse

 

That once gleamed

 

In the sun,

 

Rain clouds like the enduring face

 

Of an early people

 

Brave, eagle-hearted,

 

Who will walk again

 

To the quickening drum of wisdom?

 

Now will the improbable one

 

Who speaks with unforked tongue

 

Return,

 

Followed by those who shake the sleep from their eyes

 

In the wan,

 

Uncharted

 

Light of a new

 

Day?

 

When

 

Will the wind blow

 

A wind to make way

 

For the gods of yesteryear

 

To unclasp

 

The hold

 

On the windowed arch,

 

On those most ancient rocks

 

That climb like towers

 

To the sky,

 

Who bring back the innocent ones,

 

The cottontail, the whimsical sage grouse, the fox,

 

The juniper stand,

 

The pinions,

 

The cry

 

Of the killdeer,

 

The wild flowers,

 

And the coyote who dances in the gentle moonlight,

 

Her song

 

Unheard

 

So long

 

Yet ever remembered,

 

Bright

 

In the mystic night,

 

So old, and gone

 

And yet to rise again

 

When the winds call

 

Alone on the stone

 

And grass-blown land?

 

 

Written in October, 2015

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2017

 

Photo: © Dan Ross / Dreamstime.com