Monday, 19 November 2007

The End of Atlantis


Lung burn floundering in water
where we hunted out the shoaling
Fishes for The Elders' table

And the air is worse than water
filled by powderings and greyness
pumice shattered into talcum

Where the boat had floated - nothing
Nothing lingers in the darkness
all except the rain-storm powder

I alone - and elsewhere nothing
Stars nor daylight - none remaining
Easy now to sink forever

From the darkness looms a monster
High - and blacker than the falling
Nudging ribs with every movement

This the end? To feed a monster?
Do I care when there is nothing
nothing in this life to live for?

Clinging to the monster's tail-fin
Pushed by lapping waves towards it
Lifted high then dropped aboard it

One night - two nights - on the tail-fin
Waking Moaning in delirium
Finding lighter hours and greyness

Sundered from the island vastness
when The Gods of Speaking Fire
spewed their anger into sunburst

Spreading round our Kingdom Vastness
powderings in air - and greyness
searing lungs and crops and sunlight

Where this fine and mighty kingdom
coast by coast - and in the ocean
spread its greatest wealth and grandeur

there came anger to The Kingdom
once called Mightier Than Ever
There came death and retribution

Every palace fine and airy
mosaic floored in lively pattern
gone to feed The Gods' destruction

Butterflies and seagulls - airy
blasted dead in immolation
Songbirds shorn of songs of living

Once the land was calm and golden
Once the rivers flowed abundant
and the birds sang oh so sweetly

Where the palace - statues golden -
every servant and his master
worked and walked in great contentment

Death there was in God-libation
Severed heads and blood in flagon
Time for harvesting and pageant

Nubile boys and girls libation
Brought to bring The Gods' Great Favour
peace and grand success in growing

In the highest palace compound
rising up to meet the star-shine
there the alters waited ready

Spreading splendour round the compound
square-foot buildings peaking skyward
housed The Princes and The Elders

Every day they rode to hunting
- silent ponies - harness clinking -
caught the beasts and brought them homeward

Spears and sling-shots in the hunting
Arrows flighting into bodies
Blood-Libation to The Earth God

On our island - peaking skyward
smooth round mountains speaking Godward
roaring into stars and sunburst

Pushing stones up high and skyward
Raining down to burn our houses
Flowing rivers searing bodies

Then - the anger dissipated -
slowed to rumble into speak-smoke
Gods would let our ground recover

let their anger - dissipated -
teach our Elders to obey them
sacrificing beasts and children

Over centuries of speak-smoke
peace resided on our island
riches came from distant Empires

Sailors spying on our speak-smoke
brought us silk from distant China
lapis stones from on the Silk Road

Monkeys jewels leopards tigers
flowering trees and sweet persimmons
messages from every Kingdom

Eyes of rubies Golden tigers
Sandalwood in greatest carving
scented rooms about the palace

Woven silver-threaded small-cloths
ivory carvings elephants
came from ships inside our harbour

Bearskins foxes birch-bark loin-cloths
slaves from every distant country
added to our island Empire

When the Gypsy legions landed
fiddle-dancing of the women
set our Court in sighs of rapture

Eastern women - downcast - landed
Eyes and veils and finest garment
Languages so strange - outlandish

Speak-smoke puffed in gentle God-ways
When we fought around the sea-lanes
when we sank the foes from yonder

And the captured - for our God-ways -
strung from trees and sprawled on alters
gave our Gods their due libation

Elders spoke on lines of reason -
seen to reach the stars unending
Found new ways to help our people

Nowhere now exists of reason
Stars are covered by the God-fire
as I lie upon this monster

Our Empire - mountain after mountain -
still placated by our Elders
watching speak-smoke through the starshine

When it happened every mountain
low and high in hundred fury
poured The Gods' deserved libation

on the heads of we - their subjects
Gold persimmons - golden tigers -
melted in The Gods' own fury

And we terror-stricken subjects
watched as every thing before us
vanished - where had once been plenty

Where The Land had been Our Mother
shaking quaking cracks of hell-fire
spread the molten lava wider

Calm and gentle Our Land Mother
taken in The Gods' libation
sank beneath the sea forever

On the boats across the ocean
as we fled the waves came skyward
Looking back the land was vanished

Walls of water in the ocean
Terror stricken sailors perished
boats The Toys of Gods' Own Children

Lung-burn floundering in water
I alone - and elsewhere nothing
Stars nor daylight - none remaining

Nightmare thirst - Surrounding water
On the tail-fin of the monster

Lily-blossom haunts my fever

copyright 1998 Charlotte Peters Rock

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