“There’s Nature and Man, and both perpetually renew and destroy that which they have created”

How haunting the feathery mackrel’ed skies,
Over sand-dunes and marshes where the curlew flies;
Or blue running seas as they hiss and roar
On a palm-fringed, lonely, mysterious shore.

Or take then the storm-clouds cavernous peaks,
With their sun-splashed uplands where the eagle sweeps,
Where lightning flickers o’er majestic towers,
Down long-vista’d chasms veiled softly in showers.

How wond’rous the soaring, high-vaulted nave
Of Gothic cathedral, cloud-capped and grave,
And the massive organ pipes, reed-rich and dark,
Washing transepts and cloisters in the glories of Bach.

How different the factories belching forth smoke
And polluting the air with fumes that choke;
The dirt and the filth of industral slums –
The beggars and children who grovel for crumbs.

Yet these are but symptoms of far deeper ills,
That eat at mens’ hearts corrupting their wills;
There’s lust and cruelty, murder and hate,
Which prey on the helpless like furies of fate.

For despite all our learning,
Despite all our arts,
Primitive man still lurks in our hearts.
For our deadliest foes
Are not those without,
But within where our hatreds
Still smoulder.

Yet out of the past comes the one message clear;
E’er teaching mankind it need never despair:
Light comes from darkness, darkness from light;
And the beauties of day lie enshrined in the night.

© 2012 Thurstan Bassett