Monday, August 17, 2020

Conquest by Attrition

The gibbons are gone now. No more
River dolphins in the Yangtze—

Turns out Nature’s ephemeral
As any dynasty. Landscapes

Aren’t eternal, although this land
Still answers to authority.

What if we’ve made something lasting,
Having invented polities?

The particular emperors
Always go under, and their tombs

Are always plundered, but maybe
Culture has mastered Nature’s art

Of generating wave on wave
To break against the obdurate

Limits of existence, the craft
Of conquering by attrition.

What if we’re not going away
Anytime soon? Oh, you and I,

Certainly, our authorities,
Any given hegemony—

We’re all breaking, any time now.
We’re always breaking, all the time.

But what if it won’t be mountains
And rivers around our ruins

Left to meditate on the past—
Just more cities, more centuries,

The mountains and rivers ruined,
And instead of the cicadas

Carrying on, sounding mournful
To the poets projecting loss,

It’s just more poets, the crickets
Of culture, singing to ourselves?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.