26 Mar 2014

Poem of the Week: The Winter Sun

To anyone foolish enough to be reading this:

I am starting the Poem of the Week... thing. Anyway, I’ll be writing poems, one per week. (That seems kinda obvious, doesn’t it?) These poems will be about stuff. I can’t tell you exactly what stuff, because they’re all different—and besides, I don’t really know it that well myself. (You might want to check out my ‘On the Nature of Writing’ post.)

This poem is, as you can probably guess, called the Winter Sun. I concocted it on some random impulse; it’s about a metaphorical being called the Winter Sun. It makes various observations on humanity, and asks rhetorical questions. (Poems always ask rhetorical questions, in case you don’t know.) I don’t really know who the hell the Winter Sun actually is: you can figure that out for yourself.

So, here it is. Note that it can also be downloaded in PDF form. (For copyright information, see the Copyright Information page.)

The Winter Sun

I am the Winter Sun;
And I gaze upon humanity.
I am often glorified and demonised,
In equal measure.
Yet I do not concern myself;
For I am the Winter Sun.
Always watching,
Revealing myself when the time is right.

At the beginning,
At the ages before ages, before aeons, before life,
I was there.
I saw that little rock,
Burning not too far away,
And not too close, either,
For I am a sun.
The Winter Sun.

I thought little of it then:
Many such rocks had formed,
And many had been destroyed.
But this was different.
Life was its first visitor—
Tiny things even for me,
Then bigger things, monsters—
And yet they held no interest.

It was they who captured me.
Who? The ones with minds,
The ones who turned away from the ground,
To look at me.
Vain was I then; vain I still am.
I liked this, and so I watched.
They made replicas of me,
They worshipped me.

Then they fought.

Causes were difficult for me to comprehend:
I saw the floods, and the wrath of their planet,
Destroy their livelihoods.
That I could partially understand,
Even if I thought it futile.
For even I shall die, one day,
And I do not attempt to evade it.
But they did.

They fought, and they fought;
They did so over ever trivial things—
I saw their proud sultans, their power-hungry kings,
Their high priests.
Many things they did for power,
But they too died under cold fingers.
They fought battles,
Where I did the killing.

Longswords met scimitars;
Arrows met shields;
Guns met cannon;
And tanks met planes.
They had their revenge on their planet,
Decorating it in bright red blood,
And screams.
I finished those who I could pity.

They invented many wonderful things,
Humankind, as they called themselves:
Medicines to combat their illnesses (and my tantrums),
Buildings against my mourning,
Entertainment for their treachery.
I did not mind.
They provided amusement, these strange creatures,
Of which I had little of.

More battles.
This time, I could not figure it out:
They had gone to the moon,
Yet when they came back,
They fought themselves across their planet.
They died terribly, in screams and in agony,
Until I deprived them, and they stopped.
But they did not learn.

Men in white clothes,
With odd wooden guns,
Fought other men wrapped in steel,
With black guns.
Even their women—their overlooked half—
Were there, copying me from their atmosphere,
Ending their enemies in fire.
Sometimes, I destroyed them.

They had begun to anger me,
The one who did not care.
They built ever greater things:
Computers, and books, and televisions.
But it would not last long.
It would not be me that would destroy them:
It would be a parody,
Their own invention.

The one who cannot be named,
Ravaged their planet, killed billions,
Decimated so much.
It all happened under mushroom clouds;
Under my own watchful gaze!
I shake, and I weep,
For now I am alone once more.
Why did they not learn?

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