Author of the Month

Atlantis and Egypt (cont.)
Two Poem Cycles by Linda Pearce

The Atlantis Poems (cont.)
By Linda Pearce


My grandmother remembers the time
when birds came to the festivals,
bearing nuts and seeds for the dancers,
and singing sweet songs of far-away islands.
Those thousand birds have long since made
their thousand minuscule appointments with death,
and yet new birds still hatch
to carry branches far across the sea.
In the pine-drenched aftermath of the summer
my grandmother is seated on the ground,
gazing at the valley far below.
She clearly sees, and knows, what will befall,
and yet she never weeps.
She says “If there is snow where once was grass,
can that be cause for grief? If all of us should die
only to be reborn as turtles in some moonless ocean
many light years away, then we shall live as turtles,
and move our flippers slowly through the sea.
If Atlantis be destroyed and the earth sent spinning
out of orbit in a hapless abandonment of the sun,
could it possibly matter?
The universe is always open to suggestion:
our souls say Be and always It Is So.
There shall simply be a reformation of the spirit world,
with new rules tacked to new and bigger doors.
“All showmen know the relative insecurity of the trapeze,
and yet for mere applause they nightly climb the steps
that may lead to their deaths, doing what they do,
downplaying the significance of the frailty of the rope.
It is so easy to achieve the massacre of the acrobats,
and yet it is they, even in their slow and twisting fall,
who know the rightness of the essential posture.
“Even as I hear the orgiastic symphony
of time that’s near its end, I know
the music speaks of magic in the wings.
Just as turtles carry the world on their backs
so sound supports the ceiling of the sky,
so music takes the load from failing hearts,
so all the songs we sing bear heaven up.
“If pieces of our shattered earth may soon
create new sandpits in the lunar playground,
then I shall take my playmates to the moon
and make a monument in sand to what we were.
“In all universes, my child,
love is the currency of the heart,
freely spent and earned,
devalued only by the fear
that anticipates its loss.
Without the fear your love may buy you
castles in the air, and other souls will smile
to see your turrets effervescent in the sky.”
The day is nearly over when she finishes speaking,
and we rise to leave the mountain. The late sun
intensifies the irrepressible glitter of our beloved world.
A hummingbird makes its tentative foray
into the crimson trumpet of a flower -
my grandmother laughs for joy.

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