The day was heavy with portent, and thunder rattled in the air,
It was as if the very skies themselves pressed on my chest,
And I could scarcely breathe or think.
With heavy head,
And tired limbs I walked into the countryside,
To find relief from nature’s discontent.
There in the fields I came upon a hill,
That hill, which I have come to love.
Whereon there stands a coppice clump,
Of hazel, elder, and of oak,
With roses wild and columbine,
Sweet woodbine and dame’s violet there,
That scent the air and heal the heart.
This sanctuary which I have loved,
This place most sacred to my soul,
Where I have watched the stars at night, the passing of the moon.
And there my book beside the knotted roots,
And there my pen beside it,
There lay my journey writ in ink,
There lay my hopes, and dreams, and fear,
Locked onto page. emotion,
Thought held tight, by my own hand.
I puzzled in the finding of it,
For I had thought that it was left,
Safe on my desk away, back in my home,
Away from prying eyes and thoughtless minds.
Over head the skies turned purple with the throb,
Of oncoming storm and rains to come,
The flickering edge of clouds,
Now touched by Jove’s own hand, his power reveled.
Oh how my heart and spirit sank,
To watch the world now clothed in storm and threat of fire.
Oh how my head hurt from that storm,
The threatened destruction of my earth.
Laying beneath a cypress tree,
I fell into a sleep so rare.
I dreamed, and in the dreaming, saw the end of times.
This world brought to it’s knees by force of man’s own choice,
And I upon my lofty hill, did see the fall of men and gods.
There out towards the edge of this sweet world a cloud was building,
Filled with malevolent force, growing, straining, eating at the edge,
Earth turned to dust, once more dissolving to the void.
Trees, mountains, rivers all decayed into that angry, boiling cloud,
And all the finest works of man became like sand in its embrace.
All this destruction, all this death was bathed in sickened, feverish light,
Yellow and pestilent it tinged this land, and turned all color into death.
Watching I saw the palaces of men, like ghosts dissolve in mourning light,
Their owners clinging to the stones until they too had passed to naught.
Bright flash of gold I saw decay, diamonds return once more to coal,
And I sat helpless on my hill, watching this oncoming hell persist,
Willing some force of heaven to arrive, and stop the death of all I loved.
Yet still the cloud rolled forward never stopping, always growing,
Lapping at the now frayed edges, consuming all into its heart.
Then all at once it seemed to me, that all the hosts of earth and heaven,
Stood lined in serried ranks up to that fearsome breach of nature.
Watching I saw each line the clearer, each form of man and child stood,
According to their place on earth, the poor, the children, then the ones,
Who thought themselves the common mass.
Next came the gods, the great Osiris,
Thor the Thunderer, Christ the mild.
There Isis, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu,
There Kali, Abraham, Moses, Loki.
All the gods both great and small.
Each shimmering hope of man’s black night.
Behind them, there stood tall the kings,
The princes both of church and state,
The bankers and the men of money,
Societies beauty all turned to face,
This oncoming storm,
This death of worlds,
And each was whispering to the line in front,
Urging to push the harder,
The weaker ones into that void.
Hoping beyond hope they thought, to fill that hole,
With lesser mortals, smaller lives.
Praying that they would be the ones redeemed,
By sacrificing those in front.
And yet each push, each soul now lost,
Only increased the hunger of that cloud,
Yet more and more were pushed by those,
Who had the more, who had the most to loose.
First fell the homeless, then the poor,
Then children spiraled into night,
Then honest men who only wanted,
A simpler life and loved their homes.
Next came the prophets to destruction,
Falling and blending with the storm,
Then fell the gods, the ones they thought they served.
Two ranks were left, and two ranks only.
The soldiers, those proud men of war,
And then behind them those they served,
The ones who had the most to loose.
Clutching at furs and swallowing diamonds,
Coating themselves with oil and steel,
Dressed in gowns made of paper money,
They sought to avoid the sacrifice they caused.
Marking themselves they thought with signs of power,
They hoped this cloud of death,
Would pass them by, and taking all the earth around them,
Would leave them safe.
When no more use for soldiers had they,
They pushed with one great push those men,
Who they had paid to keep them safe,
And cursed them for their duties failed.
Yet still they found the cloud,
Moved on towards them ever growing.
Into bunkers, into holes,
They fell to try to hide from what they saw,
Got drunk on wine and danced,
As hell rolled on they partied wild.
But when at last the cloud came to them,
They took their children to the edge,
And pushed the harder, ranking child,
According to its worth to them.
Parent took youngest flung him in,
Then middle children followed next,
Until without a tear they took their eldest,
To fling them in with no remorse.
For children to their minds were product,
Things good to have and yet could still be spent,
Things to be used to increase money,
Things to be used to swell their banks.
Then came that final, dreadful minute,
When cold thought came to parents rich,
That they too now were to be lost,
Into that cloud, into that nothingness.
And renting all their finery they fell,
To knees in praying for some hope,
That they might yet survive.
Praying to gods that they had made,
Gods formed to control the people that they used,
Calling on deities now worthless,
Lost in the cloud when of no use.
Then richer pushed on poorer.
Repeating cycle, fulfilling truth,
That men will always use the lesser,
To preserve wealth and preserve life.
And when the last three men stood standing,
Sweating they began to tear,
The very earth up, threw it in,
Hoping to appease that force.
Timber and marble, gold and nickel,
Pelts of tiger and of fox,
All were thrown into the dark to try
And save, the last three men to face that night.
Then one, the richest, thought to save,
Himself with one last master stroke,
Of feverish hope that in the destruction,
Of all the rest he yet might live.
The taps were opened on the oil rigs,
Hearts of reactors cracked like eggs,
The gas turned on until the air it shimmered,
The warheads primed for button’s touch,
The vaults of pestilence were opened,
And all the evils of men’s hearts,
Were poured onto the earth.
Then with a cry I could not make out,
This man who had so much wealth to loose,
Turned what was left of earth to fire,
And burned in his own chosen manner.
The air was still.
The cloud it shimmered.
No air now moved, no sound was heard.
And now my hill it stood as island,
And I alone was left to grieve.
For aeons sat I on that hill,
Choked by sobbing,
Blind by tears.
I stood and saw my little island.
Spin through the stars, the last of earth.
This was world’s end,
The end of fields,
The end of flowers and of trees.
I mourned for all the beauty burned for men’s lust.
Now lost to life because of greed.
“Open your book” I heard a voice say,
“Open your book and read the words”
I turned and saw a thing most wondrous,
The cloud once black was now pure light.
I reached and found my tattered journal,
Just where it laid through all the death of earth,
And opening read that first line, out loud to light and to my hill.
“The thing most precious is the least thing, the thing most worthy has no worth,
If all you see is gold and silver, and count your life by what you earn.
For earth is beautiful and filled, with song and story, dance and drum,
And yet there is no value in it, if we count on what we own.”
The light now shimmering breathed a new song,
And I like all my fellow men,
Felt death approach, and sank to silence,
But smiled as I was sung to rest.
For I was sung that my own bones,
Would start to build some newer earth,
And all the words within my journal,
Would spring to life and bring life home.
The songs of foxes and of badgers,
The songs of flowers and of the trees,
My words, my love, poured on those pages,
Would form the things that I had loved.
By in the doing and rebuilding,
Yet I must die, the last of men,
And I was willing, even grateful,
To know that other life would swell.
So with my last breath I was thankful,
And spread my hands up to the sky,
And kissed the earth,
And could not cry.
For in my passing I was greater,
For loving more than just myself,
And I was kissed by nature, knowing,
That in my death the world would live.
For man had proved himself no steward,
And as the ink took form of life.
I knew that I too must be taken,
But with a lover’s kiss and not the cloud.
I woke and felt the kiss of rain.
There on my hill I sat and watched,
The thunder roll and lightening smash.
Yet felt no fear and no unrest.
But pondered on that dreaming journey,
Thought upon all I had seen,
And wondered still what those last words were,
The last words of that man I’d seen.
I rose and taking up my journal,
Walked to home and my new life,
Determined now that nature’s blessing.
Would not be lost to greed and to the fire.