THE MAN FORWARD

“‘I once met a traveler alone in the desert
Whose steps were off by a mere millimetre
So he wandered about in a circle forever’
Discovering at last that he
Could take no measure, and no accounting
Of pleasure as other men know
His circle collapsed without an orbit to pass
Beyond the desert’s blind perch
So that I never met him again,
Search though I might.”

When men climb alone into the bed of night
Candlelight and moon their only song
A breeze sweeping through their minds
While God watches o’er them
Whispering heaven’s dream
To calm them from the day of hell,
These men sleep in an embrace I cannot know,
Being bound to the torture of an everlasting truth,
I know only the blackness of the twisted heart
I never sleep for fear of this
Awful Art, and while my God
Speaks paradise to other men, to me he
Commands eternal guard, I must not let
The Innocent stalked by the chambered ghosts
Of dread lie victim in the bloodied, dirty streets
At cost of my watching soul, and though
Drained of strength, and light, and life
What other action can I take?
Except to swell my breast
With hope I do not possess
To ward what I cannot ward
To defend both day and night
My fellow man, to sleep not, to
Rest not, to always read the malign
Intent of impatient foes, the only light I see
The light of a beauty I cannot shield
Except perhaps to prevent it from being drown
In a darkness too deep for me
To illuminate, and I wonder in
The Widest night when I keep watch alone,
When even God has retired to the
Bed of Children’s dreams,
If other men like I study the raging dark
And wish, or pray, that they too
Might sleep wrapt in God’s Almighty
Arms,
Instead of perching deserted here
Counting souls they cannot save.

 

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