Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Of things past

I have been thinking and writing about my visit to the Anasazi last week. I sat in the Great Kiva at Aztec Ruins (wrong name) listening to how the kiva was dated and what happened to the inhabitants thereof. It was a cool perpetual twilight in the kiva, which represents the underworld. Four strong pillars supported the roof, and there were benches around the circular walls for people to sit on.
And it's all gone. Piles of ordered stone stand where the people lived, and piles of rubble mark where nature has taken most of it back. As Tennyson said, the clock beats out the little lives of men. So, since it's Wednesday, I wrote a poem.

Ancestral Puebloans

One tick of the cosmic clock,
Two ticks, the Anasazi came
Waxed fat on the land then
Faded into a dusty puzzle,
Their works rounded and hooded
By eight centuries of
Sand, wind, tumbleweed.

Now I sit in a shadowed kiva
Surrounded by men in shorts
And sunburned knees, women in
Floral polyester wearing fanny packs
That say "Lost in Margaritaville."

Our guide quietly and surely strips
Any mystery from their going.
They outgrew the land,
Stripped it bare, raked it clean, then
Starved themselves into emigration.

For a moment we sit, pondering
The fate off these our cousins,
Our selves, and how fragile
The spiderweb of life is.
Then we remember --
There's an art sale in Taos.
We can make it if we hurry.


bekkieann said...

Beautiful words with a jolting truth.

I hope one day to see that exquisite kiva.

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Yes, I agree with Bekkieann, beautiful words. And in Taos you were 27 miles from my house.

I have been in a kiva that was restored and still used for its original purpose with the sipapu in the center for spirits to enter and leave. Very different from being there with a guide and parrot heads.

On both your houses said...

Thanks, guys. Once everybody had left, I sneaked back in and just sat for a while. I don't believe in spirits, but they were there anyway.

Nicholas V. said...

A wonderful poem that contrasts the everlasting with the ephemeral. The significant with the insignificant and the way that we can risk making the remarkable trite...

Anonymous said...

Nice one! Sobering thoughts on mortality mixed in with a quiet but effective humour.