The Lasting Hour

these are the small quiet
hours when the light is pale,
barely born, and the streets
are quiet -

images on the TV of statesmanship
and poverty, platitudes
and cruelty, the unequal
grin, bright facile hands waving

where have we come from
the clubbed cave, the
animal blood, the
beasts lowing and the

carcasses piling - the funeral pyres
stunk to high heaven - we
watched them burn and
said nothing, no dirge was

raised for their quiet
docile eyes - despicable
and despised, man goes
on hacking and burning

anything at all -
whatever is in the
way, yet recently
by co-operation

and much care
we sent a machine
to Mars to
taste the dust there

to bring us back
some silence filched
from space and
measured by a wave

of numbers - sometimes
the only language
our tongues tell
spinning as we are

on nothing
hanging here by a
thread as if all things
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