A Spelling Lesson

A giant with an ox's head
Straddled across a morning land
Vast deserts and an empty sky
Had room for such a thing to stand.

With legs apart: a derelict
The Deluge wetted to the knee
" My name is Aleph " thus he said
" And every A is drawn from me. "

" But all my brother-signs are dead
And we are nothing one by one
Therefore I stand here meaningless
A crippled monster in the sun.

For weeks I crossed the deserts drear
Till a great shape the distance broke
Like two arches sharp and high
A living ruin stood and spoke

" My name is M. the first and best
And all M's written are my brood
But I am last of all my race
For me life hath not any good.

It melted days behind my march
Till found in those circles grey
A giant pointing with three arms
Blown, like a sea-blown tree, one way

" E. is my name " the remnant cried
" Yet can I not for wisdom wive
Look round these plains, you will not see
Another letter left alive. "

In the last borders of the world
I saw ruined sunset under
Three columns that like three dead trees
Fell half together, half asunder.

And from that low and sloping wreck
A cry came " Cruel are the skies
Cruel the sand: my name was N.
And with me the world's wisdom dies. "
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.