As we are heirs of all they did so far,
so we are living in the dawn of time.
We are posterity they dreamed of, and we are
the shells and tide-wrack that a child
called castles and left for the sea to claim.
We’re all and nothing, in this eye-blink now,
a thousand years in both directions, names,
and all that lives can mean, the single time
you spoke, and spoke intact, with all your breath,
then telescoped, remembered, made to stand.
at last forgotten in its consequences, death,
dust with the other moments,
then from some future looking back to read
that burning urgent note, five hundred years,
before it’s noticed, otherwise, indeed,
it might become proverbial, both at once,
the only way to live or speak or write.
The thing is, I think T.S. Eliot’s wrong
and right at once, the burnt-rose ash, he’s right,
contains significance, but so do names,
and actions, and the active dreams we dare,
you can’t say Rousseau didn’t change the world
or that his mother did, she did her share,
we all do, we all always do, the world
is here because we do, the castle built
and washed away each day, all built on sand
but it still matters, every tear that’s spilt.
They copied every character by hand
across two thousand years, so we have heard
Euripides, and Plato, Sophocles,
and though we have lacunae, we have words
to fill the space between, and we don’t know,
we never know, or can, significance,
or what things may survive, we have to act
as if it’s destiny, as if it’s chance,
here in this fleeting only time we have
to act and speak and make what mark we may
out of the flotsam on the edge of sea
time creeping ever onward day by day,
they’ve been a long time dead, and so will we.
14th June 2013