The Ancient Modern
Empty / Joshua Alan Sturgill
I am old and crave the old things now:
Mountains with lost names,
Monuments to places and events
forgotten. I crave hieroglyphs
and guesses, grottos and voids,
with memories trailing behind them like
the last blue smoke from a dying fire.
I crave the cone-shaped Shadow
of the Earth, the arrow pointing
always outward, away from the Sun
into unbroken wastes, wilder-lands;
away from the Solar Hearth
where our warmth and light appear.
Those are the oldest places:
measureless and indeterminate
stretches of thing-less emptiness.
Orphaned atoms wander there
seeking a homely gravity, where the call
from stars is too far away to reach
or to care. Nothing passes there
but an indication: elsewhere is light.
I crave where Nothing has changed
or been or grown or conquered. Nameless.
Explorers, conquerors, captors—Names
are given by those with intent to possess
and names to spare. I am old; I crave
the inverted mountain, the unfounded
Temple. Without below; without above.
There, just at this moment, the Echo
of the Origin has ceased to sound.
I reach with my old mind where the
arrow indicates. Silence, waiting. Motionless
without desire. Old ears tire of noise;
Old eyes seek shelter past the conic Shadow;
where the senses rest, unburdened and unharmed.
All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2019 by Joshua Alan Sturgill