The Prophet Hud
In sandy 'Ad the buildings grew,
the palaces of gold and red,
and tombs to house the wealthy dead
above the dunes were white and blue;
above the dunes the temple flame
was burning hot, devouring beast,
devotional that never ceased,
to Samd, Samud, and Hara named.
To Samd, Samud, and Hara prayed
in sandy 'Ad a people great
whose wickedness did not abate
but stone on stone was greater laid.
But stony heart did Hud have none;
he saw the world, how it was made;
to God alone and one He prayed
from early light to setting sun.
From early light he saw the way
and of the only God would teach,
before the mocking people preach
of true repentance every day;
of true repentance was his word,
of casting from the soul all lie
before the judgment when we die.
His word was spoken but not heard.
His word gave promise of the rain,
for God would surely bless the lives
of faithful men, when each one strives
to turn from drought to God again.
To turn they would not do, but jeered.
So God sent rain in flashing gale
with waters none could weigh or tell,
and judgment came as Hud had feared;
so judgment came. And on the sand
the buildings red and blue remain
and ruin downward, grain by grain.
In sandy 'Ad they, empty, stand.
the wholeness of good possessed as a whole
the completion of powers inherent in you
at splendid things true joy of the soul
triumph at being your self pure and true
well-reasoned choosing of the natural thing
viewing the order of all things in all
to be like a circle or unending ring
in all choice and thought to hear virtue's call
achievement of life that is smooth in its flow
that which makes nature finished in kind
the good to will and the true to know
being the divine that in us we find
The Last Dragon
My kind was born in ancient day;
the world yet young, with stars we'd play
and joy we knew beyond desire,
of flight, of thought, of burning fire,
and graceful mothers taught to sing
the little ones who took to wing
beneath the careful, watchful eyes
of fathers older than the skies.
Our dreams were scarcely less than real,
with force to rule and truth reveal,
we learned dark secrets from the night
that never since have seen the light.
Our words were echoes of that Word
which first the turning chaos heard,
and like their sire they brought to form
the shapeless mass of primal storm:
to make a thing we would but speak,
and lo! whatever we might seek
was made to be. Those days are gone,
as vanished as our native dawn.
And we who were the world's first pride
in caverns deep must crawl to hide
from vermin clad with hide and steel,
ashamed of fears our hearts now feel.
O First of all, O highest Light,
cast down his hubris, slay this knight,
for through his bright but wicked blade
I fear I soon will be but shade
and I who breathe the flaming breath
will fall to bitter chill of death.
I carry moly in my pocket;
I use it to mollify
the spirits that meander
where my memories go to die.
The elephants in their graveyards
stack the ivory to the heights
where phantoms march and murmur
of long-lost loves and lights.
Deceptive and dishonest
are the markers of the dead;
wanderers sad and foolish
are those by them misled;
But I too shadow-wander
underneath a darkening sky
where skeletons of madness
on the sands of heartache lie.