A New Metre: Poetry Archive

“. . . the pen of the scribes is in vain.” —Jeremiah 8:8

Atop a Bluff

Atop a bluff high on the mountain’s slope
I stand on footing I thought flat and sure.
A sound that’s near unheard, a minor chord,
leaves swirling in my ears the crumbling stones
that far beneath me under-root my stance.

The peak I’ve not yet caught; but in my reach,
but for the sounds of crumbling lives, it stands.
A tremor from the chord did rise, or seemed
to wavering thoughts to be more near at hand
than circumstance and giddy Wyrd would make.

As rents and pitfalls for my feet across
the path are drawn, the peak beyond my reach
is pulled along. Where once success seemed Fate,
the view that overstrid the mount now hides
itself, that never I may on it gaze.

Still, grey, rest all the stones that ’neath me hold,
and yet I have no proof that they may rend.
No falsity may I suspect in them,
yet still in stones I enemies do see:
betrayal need not come but once to kill.

Na’th’less I tremble on my perch and seek
where’s gone the fire that once my breast up-filled.
How do I, who once knew I could not fall —
nor could, whatever danger, none slay me —
now tremble like a squire upon the lists?

Though yet from no height can I fall by one
who’d push me to my doom; can I stand,
and falter not when Earth herself is weak?
My myth of safety’s gone with faith in her:
cannot from bearing me the ground yet shrink?

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