Above the caldera at Yellowstone,
a brittle soil-rock crust
caps a lake of liquid fire
with only fumaroles and roiling geysers
to stay its upward ******.
One errant step is all it takes
to breach that mantle's fragile seal -
spelling death by fire
to any hapless wanderer
who fails to guard his path.
Fragile calderas also roil
buried in darkest hollows of our psyches -
brewed of failures, slights and fears
dissolved in molten pools
of self-consuming misery.
To dress and salve our wounds
we sow gardens of reconciliation within
with beauty, trust and reason
and bow to gods of grace and solace.
But a despot’s studied eye
knows just how to tap our fragile crusts,
releasing acrid lava flows
from pools where fear and rage reign hot
and reason has no district.
Sisters and brothers of our flesh I pray
we find a holy and transforming alchemy
to convert our heat to light
and shield our sacred calderas
from enemies that stalk us from within.
July, 2006, revised December, 2014, 2015 and 2018
Robert Charles Howard
I decided to repost this poem because after scores of revisions over the years every stanza is substantially different than it was when I first wrote it in 2006. Hopefully after 12 years, I've got it figured out.
— The End —