So Strikes The Clock On This The Drowsy Dawn
So strikes the clock on this the drowsy dawn,
by James Whitworth
Its sixth-houred face unable to recall
From what degree or tense I have been turned
By acid hours that burned my midnight toil,
And laid upon the wind a winding tune
That sings the sailor softly to the shore
And lullabyes the wise man to the womb.
While open-handed Eos on her throne
Awaits the world wide-eyed and rosy-tipped,
The gods convene to sanctify my birth.
Should I in eyes immortal likewise stand
To not a moment lose in idle play,
And backward from the end of time begin,
Then so I wish their thunderous applause.
But whosoever speculates a fall,
Let not this coward’s slight disguise my plan
Of remedy to rid the fledgling earth
Its designated fate; yet undefined
Since long ago descended it to chance,
Where devils on a summer’s dawn still dance -
Their desecration signalling demise.
Beside the smoking broken-backed remains,
The wall-scrawled words recount a final hiss,
A doomsday phrase poured from the prophet’s tongue,
Whose moral fibres fray by twisted truths;
Whose fingers track the orbits of the dead
Across the acred sky in laboured tread,
Then kneels beside to kiss their dusty graves,
Where here in absolution‘s coffin lay
Those bygones which I strive to imitate,
Though in this age of reason must remain.
Call I to witness this supreme ordeal
All men who seek the sun and only find
The joyless regions death alone still haunts;
There recognise his soul-exhausted slaves.
Mapped in the black beneath a sight-starved eye,
They holy sleep, those cobwebbed legends lost.
Which heroes walked fleet-foot the deep-dug ground
Are frozen in the folds from which they grew,
Though such equations count for nothing now;
And yet this side of neolithic spring,
I feel my breathless lungs swell with their ghosts.