The shadows lit and fled within the cave-
The hole of past iniquities piled high
And packed closer than stacked Parisian ’combs
Of bones on bones; mixed neighbours friends and foes
Till numbers disappear with all the names.
Yet when the crack of earthquake, pain and trial
Broke through the granite roof of strong facades
And split the cave in two down to the roots
The sunlight shone on bones in milling piles
Where darkness once held uncontested sway.
And in those dry and dusty bones within
That cold Platonic cave new life begins
To spark a fire in marrow stiff and old.
Life from death; a life renewed as phoenix
Wings and lasting beneath the phoenix star.
For now a valley is where once a cave
Held its crowded prisoners beneath dark,
Heavy earth and rock to dry out and wait
For what they did not know. These bones they have
Memories but no knowledge and hoping
Not much for futures, they forgot the hopes
In pasts. Before the end they grew as they
Now appear: cynical and hard and lone.
They saw only I’s and me’s and not we’s
But each a king, each a queen in their own
Reckoning, till parched and lost they became
All indistinguishable pale, dry bones.
The names and titles and wealth and everything
They once were and thought and fought over was
Forgotten; nameless heaps in an arid
Valley. There they should remain, forever,
A hidden mystery of death and woe.
Yet despite everything that lives and seems
And all that had ever lived a whisper,
A voice, a word arose beneath the sun
To light the still burning fire in these bones.