Do not wonder about the fate of humanity.
Perhaps some of them will remain, enough
to repopulate the last surviving forests.
They will mix together meaningful harmonics
creating new names for themselves, fanciful names
forged from memory strains and hopeful identities.
Wandering from place to place, places in search
of names to distinguish them from the emptiness,
some will inscribe visions on flat slabs of stone.
They will mark their names, as they clear away
the serpents behind the walls by building fires
which burn defiant all through the night.
First come tall tales around the flames.
Can religions be far behind?
The new tribes will elevate clever priests
to tell the dreams, reveal laws, and repeat
the new deceits that the people love to hear.
Animals will gaze quietly from the outer distance,
curious, hungry. They’ll be wearing the old faces.
Beyond words, they’ll know what they’ve known
before about the humans. They will be wary.
The priests will assure the human herd:
god is good, god is great, but beware —
the god who gives will also take!
They’ll whisper the god name, his power
will be strong, her name will be known,
carved high in bright colors on stone,
above all other names and signs.
Before eating, all pay respects to the wall.
Afterwards, some may sit together at the fire
chanting the sacred name, the great god’s name.
They will look about and wonder at each other,
“What a great mystery the Great One is!”
In their hearts it will seem special, holy.
Some in their quick mad raptures may even
twist, pull their hair, or shriek like wild winds.
At night, the god may come in dreams,
that god who rules the deep imagination.
Mysterious will always be those godly ways.
For another cup of the sweet new wine,
poets will sing praises to the Numinous
in words more melodious than true.
Later, in the lengthening shadows,
they may laugh, they will weep.