So with his mouth agape,
His wings outstretched and feeling for the air
As masterfully as a bird of prey,
And a fixed stare
Of mingled fascination and alarm
Before the onset of some shape
Unfolding at the same pace as the day
A present and impending harm,
He reaches out as he is forced away.
His face is to the past.
And all those brief, ambitious episodes
Strewn out—achieved, or botched, or incomplete—
Along the road’s
Unravelled pageant that we both project
And roam through, are to him one vast
Impacted havoc which the years accrete
And slowly heave up, fused and wrecked,
Like Himalayas hurled before his feet.
Oh how he longs to stay
And wake the dead and make those ruins whole.
But a storm is blowing out of Paradise
That has control
Of his spread wings and, growing ever huger
And wilder, bends him to obey,
And for his contemplation pay the price.
He’s swept away into the future,
To which his back is turned—his task, and vice,
But to record, not to restore, the toll.
© Stephen Edgar