Once upon a time I stood upon an ancient city’s wall
by a people made who saw the wooded hills only,
who thought perhaps no farther than the next town
without a mystery overcame them.
They clutched that command of act they had,
and counted every relief in the blessing.
Truly cathedral spires needled heaven like a compass
when I was a child.
Now upon a time I live the modern man
lulled beneath the pleasant belief
I can see so much yet believe so little.
The screen of no animation shows me war and famine
but I shudder to look the body death on full
till a sculptor affixes the head and a painter hues the skin.
I remember those youthful years
when I take up the bottle and pour in the glass.
Fear was in the dust of stone,
plodding in the ache of labor,
a smile in a word over wooden carts moaning.
Once upon a time I too hauled wine up from the presses—
I can almost taste what it was like to crave.