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RAJ NANDY Apr 2015
Dear Poet Friends, being fond of Art, I wanted to compose on
this topic for a long time in a simplified form! Egyptian Art and
Architecture influenced the Early Greeks, who in turn influenced the Romans and other civilizations! Initially Art and architecture, religion and culture, were all closely inter-related! Real distinction emerged with the Italian Renaissance. Here I have used only a portion of my personal notes. Hope you find this interesting to read! Sorry for the length! Kindly give Comments after you have managed to read the entire portion in your spare time. Thanks, -Raj

INTRODUCTION TO THE STORY
OF WESTERN ART IN VERSE:
          PART ONE
    * BY RAJ NANDY

INTRODUCTION
Art over the centuries has been variously defined,
But an all embracing definition is rather hard to find!
Ayn Rand defined Art as a recreation of reality according to
artist’s values, his view of existence, and choice;
Who recreates by a selective rearrangement of the elements
of reality, and not simply out of a void!
Study of Art History is a study of man’s creative evolution;
A progress of his wakened consciousness, and a restless
striving towards perfection!
The progress of his mind, taste and skill, which has gradually
evolved through past traditions;
Finding ultimate expression in his multi-faceted creations!
I commence this story from its earliest days, and mention those
Ancient Civilizations which influenced Art in many ways.
Art has been greatly influenced by religion, culture and history;
Therefore, knowing these aspects becomes necessary to
fully appreciate this Art Story!

PREHISTORIC STONE AGE ART:
Let us take a ride on the magic carpet of History, down
past millenniums to begin our Art Story;
Right into the ancient Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic
Eras of the Stone Age,
When early humans left their creative imprints on rock
surfaces and on walls of caves!
Long before the evolution of any proper coherent speech
or communication,
In some 350 caves of France and Spain are seen paintings
of large wild animals like horses, antelopes and bison;
Bearing witness to the story of gradual human evolution!
The cave paintings of Chauvet, Cosquer, and Lascaux, date
between 8000 and 1700 BC,
Drawn by nameless and faceless people who emerged from
an inhospitable Ice Age;
Those nomadic tribes who were hunter-gatherers living in
pre-historic caves!
The Story of Art therefore begins before recorded History,
Pieced together by scholars with the help of science and
archeology!
During the Neolithic Period beginning around 8,000BC,
Ancient man became gradually sedentary, engaging in
agriculture and animal husbandry!
With these nomads settling down in small communities,
Art became mystical and monumental in range;
As seen in the megalithic (large stone) structures of the
famous Stonehenge!
This type of post and lintel structure is also found in ancient
Egyptian architecture, and later in Greece as its special
feature!
Art History spans the entire history of mankind,
Right from the pre-historic days, up to our modern times!
Man’s everlasting quest for immortality lies etched on
rocks and raised stone edifices, defying marauding Time!

MESOPOTAMIAN ART (3500-300BC) :
Let us now travel fast forward on our magic carpet to reach
the Fertile Crescent,
Where the Tigress and the Euphrates Rivers flow, to the
Ancient Civilization of the Sumerians! (3500-2300BC)
The birth of civilization has been traced to Southern
Mesopotamia, where the Sumerians built their first cities,
As the earliest River Valley Civilization around 3500 BC!
It was a period when writing got invented in its earliest
Cuneiform form;  (around 3400 BC)
When Patriarch Abraham established the worship of a Single
God, in a revolutionary religious reform! (Judaism)
Mesopotamian Civilization as the source of our earliest
surviving Art dates back to 3500BC;
When major civilizations like the Sumerian, Akkadian,
Babylonian, Hitties, Assyrian, and the Persians, in this
chronological sequence, contributed to Art History!
Mesopotamian Art in general glorified their powerful rulers
and their connection with divinity;
Reflected on their city gates, palace complexes and ziggurats,

are scenes of both victorious wars and their prosperity!
Art was then highly functional and repetitive; depicting
love of beauty, a sense of order, and power of hierarchy,
- in their sculptures and motifs.
However, no signatures were ever found bearing the name
of the Artist!
It is interesting to note that both the potter’s wheel and the
cart wheel, made their first appearance around 3500 BC
and 3200 BC respectively;
With the Sumerians contributing to art and culture, and the
progress of Human Civilization immensely!
(Ziggurats are semi-pyramid like structures with steps, a temple complex located in the center of all ancient Sumerian cities-states! Saragon the Great of Akkad from the North, defeated the Sumerians in the South, & united entire Mesopotamia around 2300 BC, for the first time in Mesopotamian History, & they ruled for 200 years.)

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ART :(3000 BC -500BC)
Next we travel to an isolated area of north-east Africa,
Where the White Nile flows down from Lake Victoria.
The Nile enters Upper Egypt traveling through Sudan,
Is joined by the Blue Nile at Khartoum to become one!
Continues its flow north through Egypt Lower, flowing
into the Mediterranean as the World’s longest river!
Historian Herodotus had called Egypt ‘the gift of the Nile’;
Ancient Egypt became a rich treasure trove of art and
architecture for all times!
The Nile valley area was protected by the desert on its
east and the west;
In the north by the Mediterranean, and towards the
south by a rugged mountainous terrain!
Annual flooding of the Nile along with an effective
irrigational network,
Ensured Egypt’s prosperous stability, congenial for her
many innovative architectures and art works!
Egyptian Art got shaped by her geography, mythology
and her polytheistic religion;
Also by their preoccupation with after-life and belief in  
the immortal soul’s continuation;
Thus elaborate funeral rites were performed by priests for  
the body’s preservation by mummification! *
(
’KA’= was a real astral twin or stellar double of an Individual, which continued to exist even after death, requiring the same sustenance as the humans, so food offerings were made in the coffins! ‘BA’= shaped like a human-headed bird, composed of non-physical attributes of an Individual. ‘BA’ collected the deceased’s personality after death from the mummified remains & united it with the ‘KA’, making a person complete; thereby making it possible for the person to be reborn as ‘AKH’ (Star), - in its ultimate unchanging form, to join Osiris in the ‘Happy Fields’! Since this journey to the next world was fraught with danger, magical funerary spells & rites were performed by the priests, with incantations from the ‘Book of the Dead’, inside the funeral chamber of the Pyramid!)

Art During Old, Middle, and New Kingdom Period:
Egyptian Art was concerned with ensuring continuity of the
universe, their Gods, the King and the people;
A projection into eternity a version of reality pure and free
from all earthly evil!
Therefore in ancient Egyptian society, conformity over
individuality was always encouraged;
Artists worked in groups with conservative adherence to
rules, order and form,
And all individual artistic initiatives strictly discouraged !
Their earliest pyramids the Mastaba, the Step, and the Bent
Pyramids were all prototypes;
While the Great Pyramid of Giza built for Pharaoh Kufu,
- was the first true pyramid which still survives!
Art comes down to us as ‘funerary art’ designed for the tombs,
Which was to accompany the royalty in their journey to an
afterlife, with its symbolic forms!
This symbolism is seen in their paintings, statues and architecture;
In vibrant color codes of their paintings as a special feature!
Where White was the symbol of purity, Black for death and night;
Green for vegetation or new life, Blue for water and the sky;
Red for life and victory, and Yellow like Gold as the flesh of the
Gods and also the Sun God ruling the sky!
Thanks to Jean-Francois Champollion’s translation of the Rosetta
Stone, (1822)
We are able to decipher many mysteries of the Ancient Egyptian
with the cracking of the Hieroglyphic Code!
Larger than life statues with poise and austere harmony at the
Luxor Temple complex survive;
Symbolic of the individual’s status, while creating zones of
strangeness for imagination to thrive!
(
’Matsaba’= Egyptian for ‘bench’, referred to bench shaped pyramids;
“Step Pyramids” = were like benches placed one on top of the other in
a tapering form going up vertically!)

The Old Kingdom Period covers a five hundred years span
of Ancient Egyptian History, (2686-2181BC)
Known as the ‘Age of Pyramids’, with Pharaohs from the
Third to the Sixth Dynasty!
“The World fear Time, but Time fears only the Pyramids”,
- is an Ancient Egyptian Proverb;
Whose ‘heterogeneous structure’ made it earthquake
proof, making Time to reluctantly serve! #
Here we find formalized figures with long slender bodies,
idealized proportions and large staring eyes;
Where Kufu’s Great Pyramid of Giza raises its mighty head
as the highest, on the west bank of the Nile;
And the mighty Sphinx guard the entrance to those ancient
royal tombs, though defaced, still survive!
These pyramids were like Pharaoh’s getaways to eternity,
An insurance to an afterlife of peace and prosperity!
(# Pyramids with stone blocks of different sizes & shapes made them
Earthquake resistant; & use of pink granite in the inner chambers
made them erosion resistant against Time!)

The Middle Kingdom Period (2040-1650 BC) :
Following 150 years of civil disorder Theban ruler Mentuhotep
the Second, reunified Egypt and ruled up to Nubia, (Sudan)
And began the Classical Era when Block Statues appear,
indicating political stability;
When artisans worked with bronze and copper alloys, designing
exquisite jewelry!
Kings now preferred to be buried in secret tombs, Pyramids
having lost their appeal,
And work began on the west bank of the Nile, in the Valley of
Kings!
(
Inside those rock cut ‘funerary temples’ on the East bank of the
Nile, opposite Ancient Kingdom of Thebes ; Pharaohs from the
Early and Late New Kingdom Periods were buried, including
Tutemkhamen.)

Early New Kingdom Period (1550 -1295 BC):
Between the Middle Kingdom and this Era, Art remained
static for almost a hundred years,
When the Hyksos from the Near East fought the weak Theban
Rulers!
In 1550 BC Theban Prince Ahmose reunited Egypt, and was
succeeded by able rulers, who ushered in the Golden Age!
Art works continued to maintain its basic traditional style,
With successive Kings from the 18th Dynasty consolidating
their kingdom’s wealth and power all the while!
But Egypt witnessed a change with an innovative style in Art,
When Amenhotep IV in 1353 BC became King, initiating a
fresh start!
This king changed his name to ‘Akhenaten’, the spirit of Aten,
-- ‘The disk of the Sun’;
Abandoned the pantheons of Gods with Aten as the ‘sole God’,
and a religious revolution had begun!
His new capital city of Amarna, 200 miles north of Thebes,
Got decorated with a new kind of art work to make it complete!
The statues now appear more realistic displaying emotions,
With fluidity of movement, unlike those rigid earlier creations!
The artistic talent of this Amarna Period gets best exemplified,
In the exquisite bust of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s Great Royal Wife!
Regarded as ‘icon of international beauty’, a great archeological
find ! **
(
Discovered by a German team of Archeologists in 1912 at Amarna! This 19 inch long limestone Nefertiti statue weighs around 20 kg, now housed in Berlin Museum; comparable only to the artistic Golden Mask of Tutankhamen!)

King Tutankhamen (1336-1327 BC):
Akhenaten’s unpopular rule was short-lived, with those humiliated
Theban priests calling him the ‘Heretic King’!
A nine year old boy Tutankhamen (‘The living image of Amun’),
was next to succeed him!
King Tut restored the worship of Amun, in a back-lash against
Akhenaten;
Shifted the royal palace back to Thebes, with the religious center
at Karnak once again!
King Tut’s short ten year’s rule remained buried in 3000 year’s
of Egyptian History,
Till Howard Carter found his richly laden intact tomb, in the
Valley of the Kings! (1922)
King Tut’s priceless and exquisitely carved golden face mask,
reflected the exalted standard of art work;
Weighing ten kilos, inlaid with semi-precious stones, and eyes
made of obsidian and quarts!
With the King’s early death, the 18th Dynasty of Pharaohs came
to an abrupt end,
And the 19th and 20th Dynasties of the Late Kingdom Period
commenced!
The famous rock temple of Abu Simbel now got built, under the
warrior and builder Ramses II, one of Egypt’s greatest Kings!


Pharaoh Ramses-II of the Late Kingdom Period :
Here I sweep across centuries of Egyptian History, to mention
King Ramses-II’s contribution to our Art Story!
In Shelly’s famous poem titled “Ozymandias of Egypt” he is
immortalized; (Greeks called Ramses-II “Ozymandias”!)
And as the Pharaoh associated with Moses in the movie “The
Ten Commandments”, he is popularized!
Egyptian Art is intrinsically bound with its religion, pyramids,
hieroglyphs, and architecture;
With a concentrated focus on ‘afterlife’ as its special feature!
In 1270 BC young Ramses took over from Seti the First,
And his rule for a period of 66 long years did last!
As the third Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, he had ruled with a
firm hand;
Recovered lost territories from the Hittites and the Nubians,
- earlier captured Egyptian lands!
He enlarged the territories of Egypt ensuring prosperity and
stability;
Became renowned as the famous Warrior and Builder King
of Ancient Egyptian History!
Ramses-II had expanded most of the temples, as recorded in
the artistic motifs and hieroglyphic symbols;
Here a special mention must be made of the Temples of Luxor,
Karnak, and Abu Simbel !

Temples of Luxor and Karnak in Ancient Thebes:
Ancient Thebes was located on the eastern bank of the Nile,
where the modern City of Luxor stands;
Thebes was once the capital of the 11th and 18th Dynasties,
And the power and religious center of all Egyptian land!
Gets mentioned in the 9th Book of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ where “heaps
of precious ingots gleam, the hundred-gated Thebes”!
Excavation work began in Thebes during the late 19th century;
And the gradual unearthing of the Temples of Luxor and
Karnak, added a new dimension to Egypt’s Art Story!
It must be remembered always, that the Ancient Egyptians in
those early days,
Structured their temple architecture to the point of ‘Sacred Art’!
With their knowledge of astronomy and geometry, they
aligned their temples so perfectly,
That the light of the rising sun fell on the temple’s innermost
sanctuary! (Temple of Abu Simbel is a great example,)
Where the Egyptian priests, who were also the artists, healers,
mathematicians, astronomers and scribes;
In dimly lit incense-filled sanctuaries performed the sacred rites!
The temples symbolized the cross roads of the cosmos, where
the divine and the mortal met in perpetual harmony!
These divine scenes were integrated into the very fabric of the
Egyptian society through chants and rituals;
With cosmological symbols of magical hieroglyphs, which
priests alone could transcribe in those days!
(
Thebes began to decline rapidly after Alexander the Great
established the port-city of Alexandria as Egypt’s new Capital
around 332 BC !)

Luxor Temple built by Amenhotep-III, was dedicated to God
Amun, his wife Mut and son Khonsu, - the Theban Triad;
Tutankhamen and Ramses-II expanding the temple during the
New Kingdom Period!
Creator God Amun became assimilated with the Sun God Re;
Was worshipped in Thebes, and in the cult centers of Luxor and
Karnak, - as Amun-Re!
The walls and columns of these cult temples were decorated
with carved and painted relief,
Depicting the interaction with Gods, and military exploits of
Egyptian Pharaohs and Kings!
The sun temple of Amenhotep-III at Luxor has many columns
resembling papyrus bundles,
Symbolic of the primeval marsh from where Creation was
believed to have unfolded !
A Sphinx Alley excavated between Luxor an
Mateuš Conrad Jun 2017
adverts and the internet medium:
    d'uh... you forgot the capacity
  of the mute button...
                    wha'? wha'?
                                               audi tt?

(let's expand on the title:
         geometry (Y) the three dimensions,
       and trigonometry (W)... cosine rule,
   i.e. how three-dimensional space behaves).

i was born in the late 20th century,
and, right now,
                   i'm seeing the "problem"
you thought jews in europe
were *the
problem...
              ever read anything
          on the subject of kabbalah?
i can only reply
with sepultura's:
                      ra-ta-ma'h-hatta'h...
**** me, the tetragrammaton feels like
licking a pharaoh's toes in linguistic terms...
and there are always four,
            to ensure there's one
.
               but at least the aztec pyramids
were not burial grounds, or burial monuments,
rather, sites of capital punishment...
   which the conquistadors misunderstood!
only the whites know the concept
of ethno-masochism.
                      by common-tongue standards
so thoroughly expressed with
   the desired eloquence, stated, already.
social sciences are a disease
                            in terms of science per se...
     why isn't there a divine intervention
        story with regards to the aztec pyramids?
**** me and the scaffold!
             the largest bird on earth,
     and instead of flying off,
                it sticks its head into the earth
to "hide".
                          that's pushing it...
that's saying the non-existence of god is based
upon the non-existence of a good joke;
          i just don't think he needs to be
revered...
                 but obviously people have other
plans...
          never mind the comedian...
   mind the moloch;
   so they pray, and pray, and ask, and plead,
and end up looking like amassed lunatics...
   they demand praying...
   me? i demand of myself thinking about him...
hard to think about nothing,
   if i were thinking about nothing,
          i simply would be, not thinking;
  and you'd probably find me:
                                                 painting.

but **** me, aztec pyramids didn't receive
a divine intervention
   but the egyptian pyramids did...
   clearly the aztec pyramids weren't vanity projects
akin to burial sites / tombs...
          clearly...
             sites of enforcing capital punishment;
years later mis-translated by conquistadors...
  and in militant atheistic form...
                                              said: retarted.
Either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when I was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb, unsophisticated.
I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious
upbringing.

I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
sun.
I trusted no man and
especially no
woman.

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
cursed.
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and
out of fights, in and out
of my mind.
women were something
to ***** and rail
at, I had no male
friends,

I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
grandmothers,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
english accents,spain,
france,italy,walnuts and
the color
orange.
algebra angred me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
fake
and flowers were for
pansies.

peace and happiness to me
were signs of
inferiority,
tenants of the weak
and
addled
mind.

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women-it gradually
began to occur to
me
that I wasn't different

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
grievances,
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
advantage,
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
empty,
darkness was the
dictator.

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
rooms
just staring at the
knobs of some
dresser
or listening to the
rain in the
dark.
the less I needed
the better I
felt.

maybe the other life had worn me
down.
I no longer found
glamour
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into
sorrow.

I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
poisons
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the
asking.

I re formulated
I don't know when,
date, time, all
that
but the change
occurred.
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
out.
i no longer had to
prove that I was a
man,

I didn't have to prove
anything.

I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a
cafe.
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
beautiful.
then- it was
gone.

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.

I've missed too many
days.
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, 'I am going
to have to let you go'

'it's all right' I tell
him.

He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children,
expenses, most probably
a girlfriend.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk onto the blazing
sunshine.
the whole day is
mine
temporarily,
anyhow.

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,
disillusioned)

I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of
happiness.

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels, *******,
singing,the
works.

(don't get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for
the sake of
itself-
this is a shield and a
sickness.)

The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
gas
again
but when the good
moments arrived
again
I didn't fight them off
like an alley
adversary.
I let them take me,
I luxuriated in them,
I made them welcome
home.
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
ugly,
I now liked what
I saw, almost
handsome, yes,
a bit ripped and
ragged,
scares, lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a baby's
****.

and finally I discovered
real feelings of
others,
unheralded,
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wife in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the tote board waiting for
me)
I saw the shape of my
wife's head,
she so still,
I ached for her life,
just being there
under the
covers.

I kissed her in the
forehead,
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
car,
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
drive.
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
pedal,
I entered the world
once
more,
drove down the
hill
past the houses
full and empty
of
people,
I saw the mailman,
honked,
he waved
back
at me.
RAJ NANDY Jun 2017
Dear Poet Friends, the Sphinx remains shrouded in myth, legend, and History. Modern research by archaeologists and Egyptologists have revealed some of its hidden mysteries. My research has resulted in providing you with a short & a balanced view about the Sphinx, keeping in mind the short attention span of my readers. Unfortunately, I am not able to post the Illustrative photographs here which accompanies my Sphinx story. Hope you like this story, thanks, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.
            
         THE MYSTERY OF THE EGYPTIAN SPHINX

INTRODUCTION
Towering over the Giza plateau facing the rising sun over the
River Nile,
The Sphinx stands defiant for over four millennia, braving the
vagaries of weather and marauding time!
With a lion’s body and a human head the Sphinx remains
shrouded in part myth, part legend, and ancient History.
While the date of its construction, and identity of its face
have intrigued scholars for many centuries.
Today I shall tell you about this monumental and magnificent
structure,
Which stands as an iconic symbol of Egyptian architecture!
Man fears Time since he forever remains as it’s bonded
prisoner in captivity.
However, only few hours of freedom are granted to him during
his earthly sojourn, to live and love life with impunity!
But Time fears the Pyramid and the Sphinx, as they stand
defiant with their raised head;
As miniature symbols of eternity which even Time dreads!

MYTHS AND LEGEND ABOUT THE SPHINX
Many controversies and theories abound as to the identity
of its builders during ancient times.
Some say it was built by the people who came from Plato’s
lost ‘Continent of Atlantis’, prior to the Egyptians, way back
in time!
Others say it was the ancient Zulus who had inhabited the
wet and rainy Giza region with its great lake.
Around 8000 BC, during the close of the Great Ice Age!
But with changing weather pattern the Giza region later became
a desolate and a deserted area.
Yet no records or hieroglyphs survive, to make things clear.
The name ‘Sphinx’ is said to have been given 2000 years later  
by the enterprising Greeks.
Since in Greek Mythology there is a Sphinx, but with a woman’s
face, a lion’s body and with eagle’s wings;
Which guarded the entrance to the ancient Greek City of Thebes.
To the Greeks we owe the ‘Riddle of the Sphinx’ which asked all
passing travelers the following question:
“What is it that has one voice, and walks with four legs in the
morning, with two during the day, and with three in the evening
time?”  - about which those travelers had no notion!
The Sphinx devoured all those who had failed to answer, till the
Greek Oedipus confronted the Sphinx and replied,
That the riddle had described the three stages of a Man’s life.  
Since he crawled on all four as a child, grew up to walk on two
legs.
But during old age used a stick which became his third leg.
Hearing the correct answer the Sphinx is said to have jumped
into an abyss killing itself!

THE  SPHINX PROPER  
Modern Egyptologists generally agree, that the Sphinx had been
carved out from a single mass of limestone mound, -
Which dominated the Giza plateau before 2540 BC.
Built by Pharaoh Kufu’s son Khafre of the Fourth Dynasty.
Khafre was the builder of the second largest pyramid standing
next to his father’s Great Pyramid of Giza.  
While the Sphinx stands on the eastern most boundary of the
Desert Sahara;
Six miles west of Cairo, on the edge of Giza plateau.
It is 240 feet in length and almost 70 feet in height, aligned to
the Pyramid of Khafre behind.
The Sphinx lies on its hunches guarding the vast ‘City of the Dead’.
Where pharaohs mummified bodies lie deep within the pyramids;
To facilitate journey of their soul to gain eternal life and be
resurrected,
To join the Happy Fields of Osiris the Egyptian God of after-life
and death.

Great conquerors like Alexander and Napoleon had stood
dwarfed before the mighty Sphinx.
But to Napoleon we remain grateful for our knowledge of
Egyptian civilisation among other things.
For it was his soldiers who had discovered the Rosetta Stone
in Egypt in 1799, with its  bilingual inscription.
Written in Egyptian hieroglyphs and Coptic Greek, resulting in
the decipherment of the Ancient Egyptian pictorial inscriptions!

EXCAVATIONS AND RESEARCH WORK
The Sphinx had been buried by the shifting sands of the desert
many a time during past centuries.
While periodic restoration work continues to preserve it for
posterity.
American archeologist Mark Lehner and his team during the 1970s,
had analysed the bedrock under the mighty Sphinx.
They found natural cracks and fissures, and also narrow passage
ways dug by early treasure seekers!
His team climbed all over the Sphinx like Lilliputians over Gulliver, -  while mapping its structure entire.
It was found the Sphinx had been subjected to five major restoration efforts since 1400 BC .
While Mark’s dedicated efforts earned him a Doctorate in Egyptology at the Yale University.

Mark’s research also concluded that the visage of the Sphinx was
once painted in red.
While traces of blue and golden yellow decorated the ‘nemes’, the
Pharaoh’s brightly stripped head dress.
Controversies rage even to this date, as to whose features the
Sphinx’s Negroid face did actually represent.
While the disfigured nose of the Sphinx has given rise to many
speculations.
Was it the Muslim Arab conquerors, or a fanatical Sufi Turk who had tried to destroyed it as a pagan symbol!
Today I recall that the mighty 1700 years’ old statue of the Bamiyan
Buddha in Central Afghanistan.
Which was destroyed during March 2001 as a pagan statue by the
fanatical Taliban!
  
Mark feels that in all likelihood the Sphinx’s face was that of Khafre, with whose pyramid the Sphinx stands aligned.
While those ancient architects had arranged the location of the three pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx in conformity with solar events, - while choosing their construction site.
A settlement bigger than 10 football fields at this site was excavated,
Where the Sphinx formed an integral part of Pharaoh Khafre’s building complex!
This ‘Lost City’ of Mark Lehner had barracks, workmen’s quarters and kitchenette.
While remnants of diets found suggested workers were perhaps
rendering national service, and were not slaves.
No iron or bronze tools were found, only crude stone hammers and
copper chisels lay buried beneath the ground.
These copper chisels had to be sharpened at the charcoal furnace
frequently, for executing chiseling  work with artistry.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GIZA COMPLEX AREA
Mark Lehner and other Egyptologists felt that the pyramids, Sphinx, and the Temples Complex of Khafre was thoughtfully arranged,
For linking solar events and harnessing the power of the Sun God  
to resurrect the soul of the Pharaohs after their death!
This transformation not only guaranteed eternal life for their dead king,
But also sustained the universal national order, passing of seasons, the annual flooding of the Nile, and their people’s well being.
During sunset at March or September equinoxes when the sun appears to sink into the shoulder of the Sphinx, -
“At the very same moment the shadows of the Sphinx and the pyramids
both symbol of the king becomes merged silhouettes.
Sphinx representing Khafre as Horus the revered falcon god, offers with
his two paws to his father Khufu incarnated as Ra the sun god, who rises
and sets in that temple,” – as the ancient Egyptian’s thought.
Unfortunately  Kafre’s dream was not realised, since the Sphinx Temple remained unfinished as now we get to see,
As the Old Kingdom of Egypt finally broke apart around 2130 BC.
The desert sand began to gradually swallow up the Sphinx, till almost a thousand years later,
Thutmosis IV cleared the area, and introduced cult of Sphinx worship during the New Kingdom Era!
Rest is history, which has been already covered by me.

     CONCLUDING THE SPHINX STORY
The ancient Sphinx as Egypt’s iconic art,
Has captured the onlookers mind and heart.
Buried deep within its shifting sand,
Lies many a secret still unknown to man!
The Sphinx still beckons out to me,
Perhaps one day I shall get to see.
Today the Sphinx stares out at a fast food restaurant.
As it now faces a full frontal urban assault!
The rising water level of the Nile, tourism, traffic, and
air pollution, along with many urban constructions;
Make the authorities to worry about its preservation!
The Sphinx beckons out to man from eons past,
What is that secret it wants to share with us?
Perhaps it is about Environmental Degradation;
And the urgent need for Global Preservation!
                                                   ­        -Raj Nandy
ALL COPYRIGHTS WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
Mateuš Conrad Jul 2016
dear western society,

no one cares for the peasant who provides
the pheasant for the royal table -
but when the pheasant isn't there -
the royal orchestra cries out:
where's the pheasant! where's the pheasant!
as if both pheasant and peasant were alike...
indeed, the peasant isn't there to
provide the pheasant for the feast-
and with such vitriol you proudly say:
once these roaming stars that go against
all reason in cosmology disappear, you'll
know that i was here - you'll know -
perhaps the pyramids were only overshadowed
by the Eiffel tower, but many more pyramids
were mentally tattooed into the minds of men -
and rose far greater and were more
harder to overcome that man took to
climbing Everest - stone by stone his legs
encountered a new form of laying brick-on-brick -
for if western society deems me mad
to purge the old hopes of colonial rule - then
i have already chastised my body to have no heart,
and let it be carried on course toward Iran
or Afghanistan - and there entombed -
i hope Western society loves its humour as much
as it loves it's panic and paranoia and picnics
of waiting for the far right to wake up -
and this liberal-leftist mush of kind words to
be shoved into Disneyland of other fantasia.

yours sincerely,

                             Vermin.
Jim Davis  Apr 2017
Touching
Jim Davis Apr 2017
In the last
three decades,
after we became one,
I touched
amazingly beautiful things,
horribly ugly things,  
unbelievably wondrous things

I touched nature's majesty;
hued walls of the Grand Canyon,              
crusty bark of the
Redwoods and Sequoias,
live corals of the
Great Barrier Reef,
dreamlike sandstone of the Wave

I touched magical and strange;
platypus, koalas and
kangaroos Down Under,
underwater alkali flies and
lacustrine tufa at Mono Lake,
astral glowing worms
in the Kawiti caves

I touched holy places;
Christianity's oldest churches,
the Pope's home in the Vatican,
Hindu and Sikh temples and
Moslem mosques in India,
Anasazi's kivas of Chaco canyon,
Aboriginal rocks of Uluru and Kata Tjuta

I touched glimmers of civilization;
uncovered roads of Pompeii,
fighting arenas of Rome,
terra cotta armies of Xian,
sharp stone points of the Apache,
pottery shards from the Navajo,
petroglyphs by the Jornada Mogollon

I touched fantastical things;
winds blowing on the
steppes of Patagonia,,
playas and craters of Death Valley,  
high peaks of the Continental Divide,
blazing white sands of the  
Land of Enchantment

I touched icons of liberty
and freedom;
the defended Alamo,
a fissured Liberty Bell,
an embracing Statue of Liberty,
the harbor of Checkpoints
Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie

I touched glorious things
made by man;
the monstrous Hoover Dam,
an exquisite Eiffel tower,
a soaring St Louis Arch,
an Art deco Empire State Building,
the sublime Golden Gate Bridge

I touched sparks from history;
the running path of an
Olympic flame just off Bourbon,
the last steps of Mohandas Ghandi
at Birla House before Godse,
******'s Eagle's nest and the
grounds over Der Führerbunker

I touched walls of power;
enclosed rings of the Pentagon,
steep steps of the
Great Wall of China,
untried bastions of
Peter and Paul's fortress,
fitted boulders of Machu Picchu

I touched strong hands;
of those conquering
Rommel's and ******'s hordes,
of cold warriors of
Chosin Reservoir,  
of forgotten soldiers of Vietnam,
of terrorist killers of today

I touched memories of war;
the somber Vietnam memorial,
the glorious Iwo Jima statue,
the cold slabs at Arlington,
the buried tomb of USS Arizonians,
Volgograd's Mother Russia  

I touched ugly things;
shreds of light in
Port Arthur's prison,
horrible smelly dust
in the streets from 9/11,
ash impregnated dirt
in the pits at Auschwitz

I touched oppressed freedom;
open ****** plazas
of Tiananmen Square,
smooth pipe and concrete
of the Berlin Wall,  
tall red brick walls
of the Moscow Kremlin

I touched constrained freedom;
heavy ankle and
wrist slave chains
in the South,
little windows
in Berlin's Stasi prison,
haunted cells in Alcatraz  

I touched remnants of madness;
wire and ovens of Auschwitz,
stacked chimneys and
wooden bunks of Birkenau,        
Ravensbruck, and Dachau,
the tomb of Lenin,
toppled Stalins

I touched hands of survivors;
of Leningrad's siege,
of German POWs and
of Russian fighters
of Stalingrad's battle,
of Cancer's scourges  

I touched grand things;
deep waters of the Pacific and Atlantic,
blue hills of Appalachia,
towering peaks of the Rockies,
high falls of Yosemite Valley,
bursting geysers of Yellowstone,
crashing glaciers of Antarctica and Alaska    

I touched times of adventure;
abseiling and zipping in Costa Rica,
packing Pecos wilds and Padre isles,
flying nap of earth Hueys to Meridian,
breaking arms in JRTC's box,
fighting Abu Sayyaf, and Jemaah
Islami in Zamboanga City

I touched through you;
wet sand beaches of  Mexico and Jamaica,
mysterious energy of the monoliths of Stonehenge,
rarefied air in front of the
Louvre's Mona Lisa,
ancient wonders of Giza,
Egypt's tombs and pyramids

We shared soft touches;
drifting in Bora Bora's
surreal waters,
joining hands camel trekking the
Outback's dry sands,
strolling along Tasmania's
eucalyptus forest trails

basking in swinging hammocks
under Fiji's bright sun,
scrambling in
Las Vegas' glittering and
red rock canyons,
kissing under the
Taj Mahal's symphony of arches

We shared touching deep waters;
propelled in gondolas
through the city of canals,
Drifting atop Uru cat boats on Lake Titticaca,
Swooping in jet boats
up a wild river in Talkeetna

Racing in speed boats
around Sydney's great harbour,
skimming in pangas in Puerto Ayora,
paddling the Kennebec for
East's best petroglyphs,
cruising Salzbergwerk's underwater lake

We touched scrumptious things;
Beignets and chicory coffee at DuMonde's in the Big Easy,
Hot *** with sesame sauce
in the walled city of Xian,
Peking duck, dimsum, scorpions,
snake and starfish on Wangfujing Snack Street

We touched delicious things
Crawfish heads and tails at JuJu's shack
and ten years at Jeanette's,
Langoustine at Poinciana's, Fjöruborðinus and Galapagos,
Cream cheese and loch bagels
at Ess-a' s in the Big Apple

I touched your hand riding;
hang loose waves of Waikiki,
a big green bus in Denali's awesomeness,
clip clopping carriages of Vienna, Paris,
Prague, New Orleans, Krakow,
Quebec City, and Zakopane,
the acapella sugar train of St Kitts

We shared touching on paths;
the highway 1 of Big Sur,
the Road of the Great Ocean,
the bahn to Buda and Pest,
the path to the North of Maine,
the trail of the Hoh rainforest,
and time after time, the way home

Yet,
I could spend
the next three decades,
in simple bliss,
having need for
touching nothing,
other than you!

©  2016 Jim Davis
A poem I wrote last year for my wife!  Posted now since it matches the HP' theme for today - "Places"
CK Baker Mar 2017
its amazing what we’re capable of when pressed;
lunar launches
and shaman healing
hail marys
and fortunes of gold
heavy hauls
and broken borders
war, compassion
and treaties of peace

all those wild and lofty regressions from the mean;
soul re-settings
(from deadly deeds)
scores and scriptures
liberty and peace
walls, asylums
(in the jaws of defeat)
channeled spirits
of warmth
and love
and connection

and sometimes, it’s just a little fodder;
pyramids and viaducts
aqua-lines and chunnels
spider climbs
and deep dives
base jumps near the high wire
gardens and divine art
and even water boards
(for beauty is in the eye of the beholder!)
have a look around
and let gratitude be your guide
Francie Lynch Feb 2015
Proud I was with my shoveling,
Moving snow to the end of the drive,
Lifing loads, shovelling high.
The armlifts created pyramids,
I was as proud as Pharoh coud be.
These pyramids
Could well entomb me.
Got a snowblower now. Too many over the age of fifty up here drop dead at the end of a shovel, shovelling their drive.
Mateuš Conrad Jul 2016
having applied myself to two languages with different parameters of execution: writing in primarily in English, reading fiction and poetry primarily in English enabled me to gain strength in reading philosophy and conjuring up white-rabbits from a top-hat in Polnisch - i can't read philosophy in English - which explains why few interests in philosophy exist - the English have undermined the worth of philosophy, oh sure, David Hume is the rave in Scotland, because he's Scottish - but the English took to solely understanding the world via Darwinism - image deciphering accounts of how the natural order of things is attached to inanimate materials propelled by falling apples - the continental procedure is less concerning Darwinism and more akin to a mental fashion statement, as in: what's vogue these days? what's the cognitive vogue? the English "philosophers" with their rigid Darwinism are like priests - which is why they attracted biblical literal interpretation - the creationists - there's no other explanation why the creationists emerged - it was because of militant atheism, atheism without individual originality - invoked by a sense of herding the sheep to the grazing hills of nihilism - the pillar that became the crutch - of course i admire and know it's true - no Genesis story that's merely a p.s. in history is ever going to undermine the naturalist's fascination with the world in every minute detail - i'm not against that... but at this moment i was thinking of a cult idea for a naturalist - take a pornographic movie, and give it to a naturalist to assess - after all... we're just mammals - i think this could turn out to be a real daytrip for a naturalist - oh sure, it must be ease with organism that apparently do not derive any pleasure from procreation... give two beings that apparently do derive pleasure from procreation... to later debase it with the malignant forces at work in the Encyclopedia that's 120 days of *****... the naturalist narrating a pornographic scene would be bewildered as to why these highly evolved creatures are exponentially higher-up the tiers of evolution, needing so many complex adaptive techniques - boredom for one, people have created more distractions than they have created tools of necessity - but perhaps they're equal - our evolutionary drive? the thing that makes us tick is not necessarily physical discomfort - we exercise for the pleasure of physical discomfort - the drive is boredom, the fear of it drives us mad with constant ingenuity taking form - like a ballerina in a salsa bar... sadism in the aura of hot-sweat-and-coconut-***-shaking as if playing dice in Las Vegas... Don Quixote (the ballet on three days away)... we're done with the empirical satisfaction of Darwinism, we know it, we need a humanistic approach to it, something that goes against the English priesthood - Darwinism will never be vogue in continent Europe, continent Europeans just say: Egyptology is as far back as is necessary to go... our lives are more important and more complex than those of primates... our lives are more important and more complex than those of primates... we want to write history, not look at history as a burden and therefore try to erase it, placing ourselves in a garden of awe and glass; honestly? Darwinism is a bit like creationism - it all starts with a garden, awe, and the grand spectacle - only the other includes a need to procrastinate by doing some ritualistic mumble and Hosanna Hallelujah in the highest - and the other tries not to yawn.

so onto my favourite topic... rich boy's slang -
do you really think a *prince
of Egypt would speak
slave tongue Hebraic?
do you think **** & 'arry could speak Bulgarian
or Romanian? let me think... no.
they might speak French... maybe German...
but certainly not the eastern tongues -
now, whoever wrote that book wrote it in ancient
Egyptian, the chronologically speaking
yes, female genital mutilation was practised first
in Africa, notably Egypt, prior to male genital
mutilation being instigated by frustrated Abraham -
the collision was bound to happen -
see how pretty prince slang looks?
it's poetic - the rich boys call it poetry, the poor
boys call slang - which is why poor boy raps
and over uses rhyme - or perhaps rhyme is easier
to remember than free verse poetry -
rich boy brings a page on stage and recites because
he's too lazy or not bothered to memorise,
poor boy says yeah a lot in between his lyrics
without a page so he can the the bowling aisle
movement as if he's rolling in a convertible Cadillac -
sing ***! yo! ***! yo! so the chronology matches,
Eve first, Adam second - but not as in: they did it first -
later down the line they cut off the precious skin
and hence felt naked, they fell, they revised was not
to be revised - sure, the man got the favour right -
he was the winner - but at the same time, the loser -
hence the good & evil bit - we don't really know -
is it really necessary to have good *** to later have
a fickle partner and laws being in her favour via what's
called the missed prenup thought? to me it's just a literal
reading of the text - looking for laurel leaves to cover
the revision of the genitalia - not the actual genitalia per se,
just the revised versions - so if the female variation is
whatever it is - less pleasure from *** and what not,
for man that also means counting the stars and weeks
and having no pleasure from ******* when her period
arrives and you have to try a diet of **** or something -
well of course it's slightly uncomfortable with it -
but at the same time you increase your endurance with it -
a slight sadomasochism, no whips no ******* women,
no leather, no adventure, just raw meat and raw meat -
no fantasy no role play - just a little bit of skin making all
the difference - can you imagine Marquis de Sade writing
as frankly as this? well... every time i revise my thought
on the book of genesis, i obviously become a covert literal
reader of it, deciphering the eloquent slang of a prince of
Egypt would use on such "delicate" matters -
but with that being said: it becomes all the less fascinating
a myth-making engine, and given he was forced out of
his comfort zone (and i mean a comfort zone) he would
cite God as the word (reason), but by word alone and
the word only - the reasoning behind what entered the land
of Egypt as being the same as what entered the Garden
of Eden... and tempted... the temptation came with the pyramids -
oddly enough only the Eiffel Tower was higher than
the pyramids - look at the time it took man to become so bold again!
look at it! massive - and in some weird quantum physics
interpretation of the mythological past becoming the actual
future - the tower of Babel... and... yep, you guessed it:
the Burj Khalifa (or the Khalifa Tower) is its equivalent;
but ****, only the Eiffel Tower overshadowed the pyramids -
something must have happened back then then,
if man was so shy in rising his structures too far up into
the sky - but i guess the Enlightenment spurred him on...
later to crash back down with the atom phobia of the second
part of the 20th century, which in the 21st century morphed into:
well, how will wars be profitable if we drop a nuke?
e'oh! no, sorry, one nuke will make us bankrupt -
we need tanks, guns, bullets... huge bulks of them!
stockpiling nukes ended up a bit like stockpiling too much...
ah crap... don't have a good analogy - just started thinking
of a desert of sugar - sugar dunes... imagining a desert
like that... well, partially true - with the Arabs not drinking
alcohol and eating too many sweets, diabetic amputees throughout
the desert land.
RhettlvScarlett Aug 2019
Twin ancient pyramids
standing still we are
a mystery to ponder on
aren't we?
Jealousies hunts me though
ancient twin love
I am crazed a human in love
since I first looked at you
and with just one look
thats all it took
Sigh!
I fell madly in love with you
I guess I found a praying saint
poet teacher mine
I dreamed of making
mad passionate love to you too
you were irressistible
sensual carefree with a white
slanted mysterious smile
to die for and ayyy amor
how painful this is!
I imagined you Alien
owned in heart
in another's arms
inside that ancient
perfect key match
heaven's gate
climbing mountains
~~
The rivering watterfalls
on Earth swipped me down
forcefully so
just to drop me back
right into your ocean
reminding me
you were my chronological genius
for me a chronological disaster
I find you everywhere
in poetry in three ptofiles
in mirrors when I write
"I love you" in'm
you are wind acquarius near
and far water in my fire
my starry looking eyes
remained fixed
looking up ******
my giant masked face
in awe of these powers
connecting us in mind in heart
everywhere I look
there is you
and I am safe rich diamonds
are my tears
if only a buyer appeared
my diamonds priceless
bitterseweet luck is mine
such sacred true love
lost and found
to lose it again and again
as in a revolving ugly door
without positive resolution
of two coming into oness
investigating deficits
dividing togederness
unintentional malady
due to undisclosed illness
that cannot be rebutted
feeling rather cursed
abandoned unimportant
mysteriously marked
with time sensitive
for a famed endeavour
to passionately change Earth
And sorry I blocked you
my only friend on Earth
sorry I asked you to unmask
I am only human
most poets won't unmask
they remain covert
how painful
to be fallen down
just to stay pushed
back down again
into the same old pit
no one to give a hand up
from this hell on Earth
a self inflicted in error
unwanted malady.
~~~
Ayyy your bending blue
green eyes bewitched me so
Ayyy ay how painful lover mine beloved not to see them live
except in mirrors photo
Nymph sacred tree Dryad!
How late i understood
that with you I had it all
and lost it all.

But this is Earth
beloved precious
old true love
Theres still Heaven
there's more justice there
in the ballancing skales
meassuring hearts
inner core's true love
in the inside we are twins
and outside so much alike
you smile the smile I smile!
you can't really ever hide
you are me and I am you
our innercores
outer woven countenance
thunderous laughters and all
we are one and the same
twinsouls twin flames
anxient pyramid wonders
never really apart... sigh!
=======
RhettlvScarkett
Copy Rights apply.
revised-8/28/19
and 08-2020
You know who I am
behind this giant mask profile
I know you visit me I thank the Universe divine Holly as you are
and to me you are The Lord sent..
nothing else matters more than being understood believed
accounted for remembered
in a different light.
the river flows as
living memory

the birds of the
Nile are its
knowing eyes

fly catchers
ply the rich
delta
probing
sediments
of sand
washed
from
distant
Nubian
mountains
eons
ago

layers of
recollection
go fathoms
deep

shrieking
gulls
plumb the
mud flats
with heroic
persistence
as they did
when the
first rafts
drifted out
of the
Great Rift
ferrying
civilizations
forebears
to the
opening chapters
of world history

the first
seafarers
competed with
greedy spoonbills
to navigate
porous
papyrus
crafts
through
the narrow
channels
of the
Damietta,
transporting
ideas, skills
and goods
to build an
emerging
world

mallards
troll the
same
gentile
eddies that
goaded the
Mother of
All Waters
to float the
basket cradling
Yahweh’s
infant prophet
Musa, into the
loving arms
of Bithiah
who nurtured
the vanquisher
of Osiris’
galleries of
Gods

a litany
of conquests
rolled on the
silver waves
of this river

conquerors
maneuvered
the truculent
currents
like sharp
eyed hawks
skimming the
pliant waters
with well
extended
razor quick
talons
picking the
Nile’s bounty
clean

this fertile
delta remembers
more than
6,000 seasons
of harvests

the
cycles of time
has produced
seasons of plenteous
abundance and
desperate privation
all cleverly exploited
by generations of
fearless herons
who wrangled
the demons
of hardship
to route the
dread of hunger
expelling despair
from the Egyptian
DNA, etching
a new hieroglyph
of freedom onto
survivors hearts

the Niles
sorrows
and glories
perpetually
wash this
magnanimous
delta
surely as
the gentle
wakes
of feluccas
continue
to lap its
shore

the marshes
have not withered

the verdant
reeds prosper

flamingos find
the water
rich in fish

in due
season
the red
lotus will
paint
the arcuate
alluvial
fans in
scarlet
autumnal
hues

In the
Valley of
the Kings
the shadows
of migratory
flocks mark
the foundation
stones of the
pyramids
as they did
when slaves
pushed them
into place

the eternal
lines of
pharaohs
rule has fallen,
their gods
imprisoned
in hieroglyphs
adorning their
royal tombs
on display
in the worlds
museums

the weathered
pyramids continue
to crumble

the face of
the sphinx
withers away

torrents of
blood flowed
in this rivers
currents, now
strained clear
by the reeds
anchoring
its banks

the fleeting
rule of regimes
are pictured
as momentary
reflections
skimming along
the ripppling
water; the
rise and fall
of rulers is
captured like
the shifting hues
sunrises and
sunsets bespeak
upon the waters

the ascending
waves of
the Sacred Ibis
dance atop
the Nile’s gray
waters; the
river jumps
to life as the
graceful wings
take flight
to foreign
destinations;
expecting
to return
again as
the cycles
of seasons
round once
more

as the Nile flows
its memory deepens
the eyes of the birds
watch and remember


Music Selection:
Gary Bartz, I've Known Rivers

Oakland
3/31/12
jbm
Jaelin Rose Oct 2012
A Brave and Startling Truth

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and ****** grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
Maya Angelou

— The End —