Eight Hundred Lifetimes

Prometheus gifted us with stolen fire;
Its flickering essence filled our eyes with light.
Warmth seeped through the pith and marrow of our bones;
And for the first four hundred lifetimes,
It was enough.
Red embers, like ancestral souls, leapt skyward.

Menes dreamt of quarried stone tombs;
Each rising like an ibis from an ocean of grain.
Seven hundred lifetimes lapped the shores of the mighty Nile,
Before the new man lifted up his head
And his hand
To grasp the till and plant a legend long recalled.

In Hrothgar's hall and Arthur's court, bards wove
Tales of heroes we have long since forgot.
But they sang- a trifling score of lifetimes from our own-
Of thresh, of kindred, of fine wrought blades,
And of the unseen.
Spirits woke to palimpsests of rare and mute illumined page.

Our own Ozymandias will rise and fall in a day;
A colossus of meme or ephemeral icon,
Laid waste by storms of electrons like stinging desert sands.
A single stroke will efface the memory of legend,
And of ourselves,
From the stony pediment of our collective mind.

by Amy Chai

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