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MILLENNIUM BEGINS

Sat Jul 27th, 2019

I

It was a time when,

Hand in hand, we danced

With chaos and her children.

Day and night:

Both soon became androgynous.

Ever silent, the mountains stood and watched.

Their office was to amplify

The echoes of our feverish tarantella.

It was a time when

We danced with chaos.

 

II

The frontier: now it was within.

Expansion could offer nothing more.

I built a glass coffin

And in it placed a clock:

The sun emerged to witness

The transparent beauty of an enigma.

We dug

Our spades shone and glistened

And you smiled again.

 

III

Two decades soon passed.

A millennium was hatching.

Quick to rise from the egg:

The shadow of a vulture.

Still:

The race continued.

 

IV

Every day a millennium began.

Every moment.

Began, and ended.

Ours acknowledged the cross.

Other deaths were unrecorded.

 

V

A millennium had ended.

With it too, reason's brief cameo.

Moss grew on our books,

And, under an ocean of satellites,

The old demons stirred.

We, the dethroned, remained omniscient,

But now were helpless.

 

VI

Of glass and steel

We built new temples

To house the loud cravings

That had replaced the gods.

None who entered there found appeasement.

Utopia, as Nero learned,

Had been confused with decadence.

 

VII

As the fields burned and blackened

Our idols became fluent

In the doggerel of the semi-literate.

Empowerment and dis-empowerment--

Antonyms became synonyms;

Semanticide became banal.

 

VIII

As ever, as before,

All things were clear.

But clarity, a rusty old boat,

Was at anchor on a bed of rhetoric

And lay waiting for the tide.

And come though the waters might

The boat, old and leaking, refused to rise.

 

IX

The millennium had begun.

It was to be our last.

Of all the things we once devised

Which had once enjoyed the greater glory -

The wheel, the keel, the plow?

Perhaps the one, perhaps the other,

But the answer lay in the tree

Whose roots delved ever deeper

Into the hungry earth.

 

X

A gate, a cloud, a fist -

All things shall open.

And the mind?

The mind too perhaps,

Bu not without the alpine silence

In which, once more, we become aware

Of our own diluvial breathing.

 

XI

Even now we can know

Moments beyond apocalypse,

The eternity of a wing-beat

Above the water where

A humble willow dances

In the breeze. Soon,

Louder than a heaving continent,

A child laughs: and now

The world is tall again,

Taller than the deepest coal-mine

Whose bed is skyless.

 

XII

The millennium had begun

Science refined its glory and its rhetoric

The bombs grew louder

And the plastic eye informed the plastic brain.

We knew, but ignored the knowing,

We knew but were content to feast.

We knew:

We were not its victims

 But rather the bed that had bred the plague.