Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tim MacSweeney poem

[This is elevated from comments to my previous post about the surprisingly low number of sites.]

Great Mystery (another way to translate Manitou).
And the piles of stones, the outcrops – everything
Meant something, recalled a memory,
Was perhaps an eternal prayer.
Stones on a turtle’s back,
You and I and everyone and everything
Are just stones on the turtle’s back…

To some people they don’t mean a thing,
Those monuments, those collections;
French soldiers firing at the Great Sphinx
Conquistadors destroying temples
Priests burning pagan books

Just a few years ago
During the looting of an ancient city
In the Cradle of Civilization
A man came on TV and made this plea:“Don’t destroy oil wells.”
And sent soldiers to guard the oil fields
As antiquities disappeared…

So those woodcuts of burial mounds we posted
Were robbed for grave goods
That went into somebody’s curio-cabinet,
And the stones went into a fence or a foundation.
For every story like that there’s a thousand that quietly went away:
Somebody rolled the big stone down the hill
Somebody bulldozed them for a highway or a driveway
Somebody was building something
My Great Grandfather worked building stone walls,
Probably took apart hundreds of mounds,
In a different part of town
Walling in a rich man’s property
For next to nothing in pay…

Just stones to some;
To others, stones on the turtle’s back…

- August 17, 2006

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