The meteor by Eleanor Wilner


The meteor


was falling, and nothing could stop it.

The day was bright, but the shadow growing.

(Like the shadow of a great rock in a weary landů)

The whole history of human hope

a shambles, wrecked toys in a rubble of stone,

a cracked chalice, spilled wine, blood's

masquerade undone. Overhead, the meteor,

growing. What use a childish faith,

hosannas, Our Fathers; what use 

the cradle of stars, that, in precession, slip

slowly into new constellations

as galaxies spiral and spin, eating back

their stray matter?


on a promontory, Earth, our little hatchery,

among the other, speechless forms of life, 

we too grow mute before the burgeoning

shadow. While the mind arriving

at the end of its thoughts, their usefulness,

paces lonely in its cage of bone, like the sibyl

cursed to live on, century after century,

as the meteor approached, and she,

in grief, foreknowing its arrival

(Rock of Ages, comfort me...)

through so many years of false belief

filling the mass graves--as if death

could be mastered by serving it.


The slowly descending mass,

the long-awaited heaven lowering

itself (on earth as it is in heaven) --


the bloody altar stone our species has made

of its own habitation, set now, like a gemstone,

a solid darkness against the wheeling sky,

its fall toward Earth imperceptible, except

for the growing dark in which we live.



  Back to Archive