The name of the absolutely wise man is reserved for him
whose consideration is directed to the end of the universe,
which is also the origin of the universe.
-- Thomas Aquinas
I come as one who has gathered fire,
who's plucked the dying sparks of day
that linger on in dusty books.
And I have worked at kindling other coals
to wield against the night, which left us
only spectral witness
that light was once among us.
But each new brand is soon reduced
to ashen waste. And what has been
is even more obscure than what shall be.
You ask: Was it worth it?
after all the years of painful growth
while trying to put on maturity,
we are still loathe to leave off sighing.
For though the enlightened mind
was offered the word as recompense
when the feeling waned, we could not find
the sought for surety amid the absurd.
And all we have learned or have retained
from experience is too little to justify
a claim to knowledge and too diverse
to imply even our own real presence.
Must I now repent me of the search
and accept my penance among the dying?
Though now is a time when time is not,
a point in space that exists complete
without relation to a past or future,
for us it is just a name for the apogee
that marks the end of our wearing climb
and starts our futile descent into the flame.
Our yesterdays are not yet dead
nor our tomorrows still unborn.
But I have said; and in saying
the cycle comes full round.
And we have worn a momentary respite
between the solstice and the end,
just enough time to change the calendar
and pretend we do not recognize
a repetition of the same.
Come silently. Approach with fear
a thing you do not know. Present
the tenth, you know not why.
And steal away in hope you have
appeased for now the dark that presses in.
Above the sounds of night-storm
the shuffling feet upon the stair
might be only those of Father
bringing candles from the kitchen.
But then again, we fear the coming
of one who brings no light.
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* Author's note:
This is a re-edited version of a piece
The title of
this poem invokes a name
Mahlon H Smith
copyright © 2005
all rights reserved