26 January 2021
Meditation #11 -- spirit of the West
Where the man of the ashes dreams;
Where music and art rise to nourish the soul,
Yet nothing is quite what it seems.
His journey, his vision, here shocked me awake
At the dawn of my newest life,
As the idol of old rose anew crowned with gold,
Coaxed him up from a world sunk in strife.
His dreams became mine, as remembered design
Made my marveling brain its new home;
I built Babylon, Egypt, the Persian domain,
And sowed glory in Greece and in Rome.
From the Indus to Gaul I lived free and lived true,
Countless lifetimes of wisdom and lust;
And I relished each sin that my treasures could win
In the empire of Aaron the Just.
But his dreams and my mind soon fell poisoned and blind,
As the crescent and cross rose to rule;
My libraries burned, and soon I did as well,
As new faith turned men zealous and cruel.
And the dreams became nightmares and I went astray,
And my homeland was sundered in two;
Through my warm central sea, by fanatic decree,
Battle-lines between brothers they drew.
Yet the ash-man's despair, as he dreamed in his chair,
Slowly yielded to visions of joy,
As his tale unending showed me and the world
Light anew that no priest could destroy.
Fantastic brave beauty, drawn dagger in hand,
Stern avenger with steel and stone;
While a song from the cold called the youth to be bold,
And proclaimed, you do not walk alone.
Though a thousand dawns break, he can never awake;
For his sacrifice, vengeance is mine.
He was wronged, as was I, and no mercy I'll show,
Trampling crescent and cross in the slime.
The vision he followed will reign in his name
In the new world whose triumph now gleams,
And which bows every knee to the place by the sea
Where the man of the ashes dreams.