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  • By Daniel Leach

Flight of the Ibis

Portrait of an Old Man with his Grandson (1490) - Domenico Ghirlandaio

In the golden light of the late Spring evening,

A boy is dreaming on the backyard swing,

Swinging and dreaming, as over the treetops

And rooftops his infinite spirit is flying.

Over the city, the church bell is ringing

A song that is old as his dreaming soul,

Reaching out into the gathering twilight.

Silently, out of the deepest moon shadow,

The spacecraft emerges as if from the dead

To see from the darkness the dazzling blue earthrise,

Like creation itself, comes the beautiful thought.

And the words of the sages, like silent vibrations

Are echoing over vast spaces and time,

And it matters not whether the scene is repeated

Somewhere far away we cannot yet see,

For here is a soul broken free from its shackles

One moment, and like a god gazing

On the place and the time of its own incarnation!

Far below, and so small that the eye cannot see,

In the gloomy despair of a back alley night,

Lies the lost soul, who broken by pain and neglect,

And wanting only release from the suffering,

Breathes its last breaths, and a flood of memories

Come like a great vision from somewhere beyond,

For he was once young and the vessel of dreams,

No less beautiful than all the others and yet

It is as if they float like the fog in the street lights,

And fade unseen in the noise of the city.

And the morning mist shrouds drape the banks of the river,

Where the boats glide silently in the faint light,

Like the ghosts of the thousands of souls who have floated

Upon it in all generations of Man,

As over the treetops the white ibis soars

Spreading its wings to the first morning light,

And its cry echoes over the faint stirring rushes,

But seen only by he whose prayers lifted his eyes.

In the darkness and cold and deep silence of space,

Death seems to whisper close by the ear,

And all of the power of all the earth’s minds,

As if lost in an instant never will return.

But that lone soul while still with an eye and a heart,

Hearing only his own breath and murmur of thought,

And the hum of the universe faintly beyond.

And the young night is buzzing just around the corner,

While shadows come silently over his eyes,

And he dreams of what might have been there in the doorway,

As the stars rise over the horizon unseen:

And each one is like a memory shining

Unchangeable, there far beyond all the bustle

And meaningless struggle that soon will recede

Into the darkness as all in this world—

And he hears again songs of those boyhood swingings

As the life force flows out and into the street.

The river is teeming with life of the morning,

And the mists now are hiding among the shore reeds.

The ibis has flown to some Western oasis,

Having showered its blessings of peace on the day.

And the space-farer sees as if all of the hearts

Of the dreaming of children and those who are dying,

And the river of Time that carries them onward,

And the sacred bird resting there in the calm evening,

With the dreams of the living and dead in its breast,

As the stars rise above him eternally calling.

Daniel Leach is a poet living in Houston, Texas. He has spent much of his life fighting for the ideals of classical culture and and poetry. His volume of poetry, compiling over 20 years of composition, is entitled "Voices on the Wind."

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