13 October 2019

II. Per Aspera

From the moment he first drew breath
Through bluish infant lips
And let out a mighty wail 
Protesting the crushing pain
Of his journey into the world,
The cold cruelty of the open air 
After the enveloping embrace 
Of his mother’s womb,
I have loved him more than life.

I marveled at his first step,
Delighted myself in his baby laughter,
Wept for his broken bones, his broken heart,
Thanked the Maker for his strong body
And his clever mind.

And now that same Maker demands his life,
So I lay him on the rough stone altar --
My beloved, trusting, obedient son --
And pray in desperation 
That somehow death might be rendered harmless,
Fully eclipsed,
Swallowed up by life.

This is the price I paid for the stars
In all their galactic glory,
The swirling Milky Way,
The strong and silent Hunter, 
The Big and Little Bears:
I laid my dearest dream out to die
And wielded the knife myself.

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