‘Awake, Sing Ye That Dwell in Dust’
The Book of Isaiah 26: 19
When I chanced to see the mound
Desert steppe green in spring,
Wind blown and lightly flowered,
I saw no common hill,
But history: A sleeping song of what is
And not of what is not.
Its natural terracing too obvious,
A telltale sign of Man remains,
A rubbled ziggurat grown squat.
I knew the tower’s tel would tell her hidden tale,
A layered mystery worn smooth,
The wearing that was the work of wind dust,
Grains blown across the four cornered earth.
Angular stones rounded,
Rounded and blurred by time’s debris,
Whose sand breath burnished and blasted
And once buried,
Now quickens and unlocks,
To certain hearts her past.
Then there was the sun river’s way, too,
Daily rising east and setting west,
His arched rhythmic swell and ebb,
An orange orb reborn each day,
Stirring the Heaven’s sea tide and surf,
Spraying silver unseeable solar winds
Upon the earth.
Wearing with the weight of stellar strain
And by star rain after sunset
By flakes of light falling
Wearing through millennia.
Wearing each today into past
To the sad unwinding melodic pain
Of camels’ padded feet
And wind tumbled bundles,
The earth’s yearly harvest of dead grass.
Though the mound hides its inner parts
Far from the star drizzle patter
And our sun’s fiercer squalls of cosmic matter,
Its cut stones, bricks, and artifacts
Cannot be buried too deep to deceive decay.
For Apollo’s chariot’s wheels and hooves
Will find them out
To rut and split their atoms.
They will be uncovered,
Exposed to a higher light,
That bridge between mind and eye,
God and his creation.
Not to be wind worn,
But wind quickened and revealed
As Spirit quickens spirit,
Imagination, and sight.
For what once wasted
How canst Thou be silent
Who never sleeps?
Were the stones still
Or only sleeping?
Or like me,
Recently risen from the dead and singing?
Elliott Tepper 12-27-95