Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Springtime at the Olduvai

© Steve King
All rights reserved

where brown earth
and green bush meet
unrolling to empty azure all around
the cats picnic in moving shade
painting red the sands with random feasts

spiraling above
great birds follow where ripe scent blooms
across revealed ages

The brown guide says
‘here is where they saw it first’

the older tourist in fresh khaki nods

‘they were more like monkeys yes
not so much like us’

‘oh not so much like you sir’

‘no, you will have an easy resting place
and a crowd to please you at the last
not a pack set running
at the sight of you

‘or puzzling as your eyes lose their light
wondering how this all had come to pass,
wondering that you must have so displeased
the angry spirits of the grass

‘dying quick
belly pain the last sensation
birds nearer
nearer as you watch

‘no, you will have kind grasses and cool earth
and there will be no mystery of you
and no seeking after
for it will all be known
plain as may be said
between the corners
of your polished stone

‘even now for you
the birds are distant curiosities
just artifacts like all these other things
even now
seeing how it all began
seeing how it goes’

‘no sir not at all like you’

and breaching earth
the ancient rift
a piece of countenance revealed
hollow eyes
broken brow polished
from long confinement
in grinding sand
and heaving gravel bed

come again to sun
outlasting flies
and all the carrion feasts

waiting for the sands again
the shifting grave

without memory or expectation
no mercy dreams
to soften long night
or another day
another season
as much a cousin now
to all rough stones
as to the monkeys

even less to you sir

yet sir

no sir not at all