Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Embarrassment of Last Things

(Thanks to mw for the link.)

Already you smile, drop your eyes, and chew your cheek.
Centuries of dire prophecy have taught us all
to be, well, unconvinced. And there have been decades,
entire scores of years when, to be frank, wholesale

destruction didn't sound so bad, considering.
You remember, we were all disappointed.
That the world never ended meant we had to get
out of bed after all, swallow another dose

of stale breath with our coffee, scrape the grim ice
from our windshields one more time. On the way to work,
stuck in endless traffic, the radio or some
incredibly sincere billboard would promise us again

an end to this, and for a moment we almost
see it. But we know it's not an end, not really;
it's harder than that -- some kind of strenuous chore
stretching out ahead like these stalled cars, showing our

general direction, inadvertently or not mocking our pace.

© Scott Cairns, from "Compass of Affection", Paraclete Press, 2006

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