Elegy for the Eighth Day
“Terribilis est locus iste.”
From the palisades of Umiak, the arctic elders call.
San Rafael illuminati find their guru at the mall.
On a windswept beach on Malta’s coast, benighted beggars sing.
“Beyond the campfire of a Taureg camp,
a maiden signals with her lamp.”
In far Bhutan, the yeti hunter’s cell phone starts to ring.
All eyes turn to Singapore, new Asia’s thousand-storied door,
whose partition unifies its core, for news of the impending war.
A herald of Armageddon lifts high a banner with his song.
“The dispossessed are rising. They will balance Justice’s scale.
The florid face of commerce will grow pallid in travail.”
A sweet Samoan nymph’s esteem swells in her cross-your-heart sarong.
The oracle at Delphi has a chat room on the Web.
She’s channeled by La Xanine, who was once a Newport deb.
Lalibela’s pale-faced chorus ululates an occult plaint.
“From Axum down to Jefren, across to Bezu and beyond,
we carried Caput Fifty-Eight, always blind and ever blond.”
At sacred wells and waterfalls, the prayers of men grow faint.
On a Kalahari gerbil ranch, the wranglers dread stampede.
In Nairobi’s best bordello, Masai herdsmen pick a Swede.
Cognoscenti chant their antiphons at Rennes-le-Château.
“Daniel sang in future tense / Before the fountain throne of Old,
Of joyous swimmers in the fire, / Defiant denizens of cold.”
In Arcadia, I bob for cobalt apples in merlot.
Gog and Magog, at Bannockburn, will see the Templar phoenix rise
from the flames of Ile de la Cite, and Beau Séant shall fill the skies.
In the chaos there’s one thought to keep: your joy is near when last you weep.
“Stand up and face the avalanche; be stalwart in the flood.
Surrender is the price of faith, but the price of truth is blood.”
Now is the time to reap! Go deep! Go deep! Write sonnets in your sleep!
Published first in Rustlings of the Wind (Spring 2000); second in The Brink at Logan Pond (Lulu Press, Morrisville, North Carolina. May 2005).