Requiem for Civilization
Let me indulge your dark vision, you false prophets, who
see soon coming the dissolution of the world, of the firm
fundament upon which God placed the Earth, and take you
to the time when there will no more be writ a single book.
A bleak, desolate country is the one where we arrive, the fruit
of some terrible demise, war and plague that razed it with fire
and death: to find a footprint one stoops low to kiss this dear
miracle and relic of a race chosen and blessed, now past and dead.
And what do these men leave behind, our grandfather and our
grandmothers, the heritage of our kind? What ruin shall we
examine and say, “Forsooth, they were great, a sprawling
empire from sea to sea spread, and going into space above!”
Amen I tell you, stones doth speak, but what stone inscribed
shall be left for men to read? All our houses are from wood
made good for storm, or fire, or worm to eat and leave behind
weak shadow soon lost from miscare of nature for the memory.
What of the grand libraries, the books that fill them, the laws
of men and nature writ in them? With time as with death
uncared this knowledge wilts away, silent for so long it succumbs
to dew and mold, and all these monuments of wisdom to dust return.
And the grand stone pillar, akin to mighty Rome? Will this not
stand to inspire some germ to generation raised, of man somewhere
surviving and roaming? Perchance it will give credence to the child
of the stories he has heard, but will his fantasies give justice unto us?
Will they include the vast ocean of knowledge and of vice in which
we bathe and spend our time? The internets and computers that
are fundament of civilization? The great books, long lost but to
cloud sent and digitized, a library that holds more work than has any?
But all that, our epitaph, is but strawberry’s worth and mass, the
electrons that doth write our future and our past. And when all
is lost, this electronic script will be the first to fall from history,
this our finest work, and all else no human eye can read unaided.
The child will then go to rest, will dream of city that mirrors
the one lost to tragic past. But dare I say he will not be more
impressed when he turns and walks away, in that fine season
when the world is leafed with gold and red, to build anew
to follow better model?