Old Days

Wynn Wolf Arbor

In the lowland of the taiga;
And vast forests boreal
Midst wapiti and wild reindeer,
Lynx, stoat, squirrel, snowshoe, brown bear,
Lives a hermit in remembrance
Of old days and the explosion.

Green the firs, bicoloured birches
Waving proudly in light wind;
Poplars shedding crimson catkins.
And the hermit, longing, silent
Standing lonely on the brink
Of tundra, opens weary eyes and sees.

Oak trees bending, whipping back;
Barks then tinged by hellish fire,
Songbirds in a sky of black.
The mushroom cloud, the ball of red:
People fleeing, hoping, dying,
To the church walls shadows burnt.

In the seas the water boiling,
Blistering from the reflection
Of the short-lived man-made sun.
Uriel in heaven crying,
Mourning loss of the creation
That, in war, unmade itself.

No more seasons, only winter;
Everlasting winter, with grey soot
Like snowflakes falling gently
Down to blackened soil; a Hell
on Earth, forever dead and frozen.
Upon mankind a shadow cast.

So the hermit with his gas mask,
Breathing filters and asbestos
Makes his way, past sickly tree stumps,
Past the rotten flesh, past poison
Past the hollow shells of old
Through miasma to catharsis;

Through the lowland of the taiga;
In vast graveyards boreal
Midst wapiti and dead reindeer,
Lynx, stoat, squirrel, snowshoe, brown bear,
Through miasma past the tombstones
Past the unmarked grave and carcass.

Face turned west another fire,
Older still than the creation;
Shimmering subtly, orange, crimson
Through the clouds and casting rays
Upon the rolling hills afar,
Lights like ghostly sirens calling.

And the harp, resurging music,
Calming shadows, living beings,
Forests, meadows, nature, beauty!
From that subtle light display
Made the hermit so resentful
And envious of death’s embrace.

Far away inside a bunker
Beneath the old charred earth forgotten
Lies dormant in a silo still
The array of rockets primed;
Awaiting silent, patient, stoic
An end, and the explosion.