Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ecce Homo

Sapiens sapiens, anthropologensis,
his fleeing, dying wildebeest corralled
in brushed aluminum and frosted glass,
sits in the changeless blue fluorescent weather
of his polylingual cave of books,
Outside his share of pane the sun
fires the west; the first nocturnal prey
begins to patter to the lecture halls
with vague unease, in attitudes of thirst.
He shifts in his flint litter, thinks of home,
food, but can’t accept the evidence
misshapen in his hand, vows to starve
until he’s managed one usable blade.
Fractured scallops leap across the room
as three million years of learning clack
the witless stone. Soon he draws blood,
before long a few learned tears;
he drives the hammerstone down as much
to shatter as to shape the gritty carnage.
But then, as though the stone were teaching him,
the taut, perfected form appears in his hand,
is simply there, realized, whole,
edged for sacrifice, keen for game.
He thumbs the point with quiet, lethal glee.
Later, over ribs of beef and candles,
his wife is not quite sure if she can trust
the ancient creature dancing in his eyes.

1 comment:

Cailleach said...

Now, I like that - a poem about trying to be an ancient man, and succeeding. A bit. Knapping flints is meant to be really, really hard to do - it sounds like you tried?

This is one of those poems that you read and read until you get the 'ahh' moment, like the guy trying to cut flints in it. Very clever!