03 May 2007

mapping hell

there's no room for action and still less for thought
the place we settle down in is never truly home
we face the constant tension between is and ought

through heavy seas and through the bitter foam
we make our way and plan to tell our tales
no one but us should be allowed to roam

far out at sea we've seen the play of whales
the spouts are joyful and the waves not steep
what we expect may still be though it fails

names and addresses are the things we'll keep
not one of us can name the truths of hope
still we must make some hay before we sleep

the work we do will pull some up the slope
to name our terrors does not make them flee
we find ourselves with time that's not like rope

we can't play out the things that we might see
not one of us can say that we've been pure
the ocean comes and will not let things be

those who will come may not so long endure
they'll fill their pockets with the brightest stones
and then will vanish in a moment to be sure

the one who sharpens knives the one who hones
both blade and argument till they're so sharp
they'll cut the skin and cut right through the bones

we cover all the field with cloth and tarp
no ray of light will enter till we're done
meanwhile the lady plays upon her harp

the largest herds will down to the shore run
without the least doubt we'll be told what's true
and then we'll flee from the heat of a may sun

we've done our jobs there's nothing we could rue
but still we worry and we search the skies
for any helpful omen any change in the old view

about the corpse there always will be flies
but that's not our problem now we've got the light
truth comes to us well guarded by our lies

the day must fade and we must face the night
there's nothing we might do to end these jars
our hearts are high we will not now take fright

above our heads we see the summer stars

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