“No ceiling bearing down on me, save the starry skies above…”

RIDDLE

I saw on the strand     the strangest of sights:
A gleaming pageant     that passed from the sea,
Their foremost borne,     that fine-bearded king,
Through sculpted chambers      skeined with sea-weed,
Mute twirling trumpets      trailing his wake.
Sailing beside him,      his silent white lords
Were marred by the maulings     of millions of wars.
Light on the shoreline,    their lonely race
Watched and waited     wordless ages
For imminent signs.     Silence drained heaven,
Then a dry rustle     like rain in ascent:
The whitecaps boiled        bone-dry, leaving
deserts unplundered,     plains without end.
Long they beheld here     horrors of old:
Ravenous monsters,      maws ringed with arms,
Pried their bulk blindly   from beds of muck
As nobles sternly     stiffened their spines,
For all was lost.     The lords yielded,
Shedding their swords     and shields of gold,
Hurling their helms      hard on the dune,
Laying their war-gear     now lightly aside,
Once-bright armor         bristling with rust.
With no last cry      they cracked their spears;
No howling braced     their broken ranks;
Insensibly stone-eyed     as statues at dawn,
Their remnant sank      in the sand where they stood.
Then forth from the snare     of a fisherman’s nets
In their relics reborn      I rose to my shrine
To wait for water.     Their world is dust,
And so is this matter.     Now say what I am.

(For all the entries in this series, hit the “looking up” tab, or read the gargoyle FAQ.)

2 thoughts on ““No ceiling bearing down on me, save the starry skies above…”

  1. Ha. I was shuffling stacks around this weekend and turned over that album. Now I’m going to have it stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

    Like

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