So it begins—the last descent, long feared
Though long expected. Here then, in this pause,
Let me take stock, as if an angel peered
Upon my soul’s mute rage and dull applause.
Come seek then, spectral dunce, survey the void
Of one who never sought or bought your aid.
Should all I wrought or fought for be destroyed
Can what is lost be less than what was made?
Omnipotent? Perhaps—yet I suspect
That time has naught to fear from men or gods—
The sham of cause is equal to effect
And Einstein’s dice obey no law or odds.
Rambling fool! Bravado builds no boats
Nor plies an oar to swim some trackless mere;
Who sorts iambic herders from their goats
With hounds of hell upon the heels of fear?
Let us be calm. At forty-thousand feet,
Within this gilded bird’s unholy pride,
No word has yet been spoken of defeat:
If loathsome Death may stalk, may Hope not hide?
And so it begins, the long descent to—where?
This flight from Paradise to homely hell
Is buoyed by more than wings, but less than prayer,
Too high to hear the tolling of a bell.