Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Real Reason You Visited the Great Pyramid

author's note:

While watching an excellent lecture series on Ancient Egypt by Professor Bob Brier, I was inspired to write a number of poems.

Dr. Brier is indeed a joyful Egyptologist.


In the photograph
you grin under that
big floppy hat

but though your image
crowds the foreground
it can't diminish
that distant monolith
behind your back--

the great pyramid--

a resounding visual echo
demanding that we ponder
not just a king's divinity
but also our own death.

Though our tombstones
provoke solemnity and grief
those flowery graves
can't quite convey
the true force
of the shadow we sense

whereas that mysterious crypt
puts a capital "D" on Death.

With its spire aspiring to the heavens
and its elevated cave leading to the core
the pyramid serves to remind us
of how formidably strange
this human life is.

So when I saw the photograph
I started to laugh:

there you were
smiling like a silly tourist
seemingly oblivious
of that massive tomb looming
over your left shoulder.

But despite appearances
you must have felt
its indomitable weight--

such monumental symbols
are designed to evoke
an automatic response--

perhaps you tricked yourself
into taking the desert vacation
just to have that confrontation--

you woke yourself up--!--

and now you're showing me this photo
of a shadowed woman
squinting into the sun
because you hope I'll find
what you've already discovered.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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