STANDS A LONELY WIND-BITTEN CRAG
AND IT SEEMS TO SPEAK WHEN COLD BLIZZARDS SHRIEK
AND LEAFLESS WOODS MOAN LIKE A HAG.
* * *
As I stood there alone with my hand against stone
and the tears of the wind on my face,
I wondered if stone recalled ages unknown
when life first blossomed out from its base.
In the swirl of the rain, a voice spoke in my brain,
a voice deep and lonely but strong:
"If I could but forget the long pain and regret,
the foul horror of Life's endless wrong.
"For my thoughts can still find the long path left behind
That leads from the light to the gloom,
from the day of the dawn in cataclysmic morn
when the seed gave forth its bright bloom.
"From the cold sands of space, by the Weak Force's grace,
mixed the dust and detritus of stars.
Grain piled on grain in a chill, soundless rain,
glued by static and enshrouded in tars.
"Stone smashed on stone and world hurled on world,
till the rocks crazed and shattered and flowed;
and blazing I came from a placenta of flame
to a shore swept by rivers that glowed.
"Those dim ages flew by like swift clouds from on high
as the land cooled, and then fell the first rain;
and the soil drank the dew and it yielded anew
the first streams that now fed the first main.
"Yes, how still were those days in the sweet lightning's blaze
as the waves swept the yet steaming shore.
But then came the day (nevermore, now I pray!)
when there was movement where none was before.
"A faint globule of gel that squirmed in the swell
I saw in the waters that hour.
As the aeons flashed by under the comet-strewn sky
More came and divided in power.
"On the cold ocean's floor; near the volcano's red maw;
In the deep and the heights and the skies
swarmed the things from that seed, that slew in their greed,
for warm flesh and sweet blood was their prize.
"The pollution of pain from the nucleotide chain
spilt over my stone like a tear.
If I could but sleep! If my rock could but weep!
for I heard your faint footfall pass near.
"For you are the bloom from that root sunk in gloom;
the dark blight which crawled from that pool.
Your lips prate of law but your hands swim in gore
and the axe! Was it not your first tool!
"You smash flesh with steel: wounds never to heal;
your children you feed to the fire.
Though some lisp of God, where your armies have trod
Shards of hope still hang wet on the wire.
"All life feeds on death and blood is your breath
- but the forces of night are now massed.
Soon the ape and its lust will yield to the dust
- Lo! Time's javelin already is cast!
"Swept like chalk from the board while the cold stars applaud
your day and its darkness are passed.
A cloak of new fire is your funeral pyre
and the world will grow quiet at last."
I ran from that height with my mind wrapped in night,
every step seemed to drown me in mud.
Was that dread judgement true? Or will we rise anew
and forget our beginnings in blood?
Many years have now gone yet my doubts linger on
and they come and they mock me at night.
Does the stain run too deep? is there no faith to keep
with the slaughtered now gone from the light?
It is still not too late! Let love replace hate -
still are there ploughshares to mould.
Let us turn from the sword and cut the strong cord
which ... Ah, but I, and you too, - we grow old.
* * *
HIGH ON A TOR IN THE CRATER'S BLACK MAW
STANDS A LONELY, BLAST-SHATTERED CRAG
AND IT SEEMS TO SPEAK WHEN THE FURNACE-WINDS SHRIEK
AND LIFE'S ASHES WHIRL BLACK FROM THE SLAG.