After the Fall

Underneath its bonnet

the engine catches, unsung syllables,

hidden notes of an era’s final hymn

 

They’re bringing firewood now

by horse and cart, vegetables we

sowed in sullen patches

 

Some survived the frost, radio

battery almost exhausted tells of

coastal cities underwater, oil stocks

 

Down to final barrels, drills and rigs

rusting in haunted Arabian deserts

moonlight flickering on the only substance

 

Left to hoard – gold!  How many

civilizations have perished for thy seductive

glow, sunlight captured in trinket and coin

 

At night fires flicker over lost horizons

rubble of ancient enmity still burning,

wires welded inside dusty hulks of tanks

 

Where cats and birds once again

have made their homes inside grounded

turrets, weed choked, emptied of fuel’s spark

 

Underneath its bonnet

the engine catches, once a year I crank it into life

a precious minute snatched from the past

 

Listen to its piston-talk, breathe in acrid fumes

reminders of how it was before the fall

our children will not hear these sounds

 

They will bless our planet’s grim tenacity

a new beginning salvaged from the old

 

Tell their own children how out of it’s crawling

billions, a mere ten thousand survived

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© Johnmichael Simon

2008

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