written by: Stanley Wilkin
Incandescent, the mystic sign burrowed into
Their untarnished consciousness
Depositing meaning where before,
In related specie, there’d been none. Ok,
At first it didn’t seem such a big thing but
Later, much later, it was.
Creating an object d’art is one thing
For a man wearing animal skins but an entire
Nation is another matter. It took time.
That said, going back seems like just another way
Of going forward.
Out of the encroaching sands crept a single idea
Made out of many others. A pyramid rose out of smaller
But more elegant definitions of power. The greater the power
The vaster the bloody pyramid became,
Enclosing space with a giant flat footstep. Khufu
Lay within, disintegrating slowly,
Convinced of his godlike nature-while minor royalty
Found cheaper ways of preserving body and soul.
Sand covered the Sphinx for two thousand years
Alexander’s body disappeared, Caesar, a manipulative bald
Headed coot ended up under a memorial stone,
Equally godlike and dead.
Cleopatra may not have been hot after all
But having powerful lovers and dying gracefully
Did wonders for her profile. Long dead,
An icon of femininity and sexual allure, she lives
Forever in a world that desires both.
Quin Shi Huangdi surrounded himself with lifelike soldiers
In a bid to recreate reality, as if
Death could be touched by an illusion. Surrounded
By a mercury lake, buttressed by an unmoving army
His bones are as empty in their fashion
As the peasants he ruled over. Can’t cheat it, or
Beat it. Can’t ignore it either.
The personality continues through
Memory aids. A huge gravestone serves as well-
As Khufu discovered. Deeds recorded in
Verse works, but in both methods
The myth becomes greater and the real person,
The one who cried at funerals, failed during sex,
Gets forgotten. Might just as well
Do nothing. It takes less energy, leading
To less disappointment.
The desire to extend privileges into death
Where nothing exists
Is the fantasy of the spoilt for whom life
Must be eternal. An Australian aborigine who
Rallied his people in overdue rebellion against
The European hordes bringing sheep and planting grass
Was killed, stuffed and displayed in an exhibition.
Khufu had himself stuffed and displayed. All famous people
Are stuffed in time and displayed like curios
Dying again and again throughout eternity.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
It comes to us all! Can't beat it, can't cheat it!