They stand abidingly amid the sun-enhalcyoned shrouds
That diadem the lofty, lonesome mount
As though the eminences of a never-passing age,
Formidable and unoblivioned.
I’ve longed so much to know
Myself the secrets of that conclave’s beatific life—
No longer to meander through its ranks
In idle fancy, but to offer up this trembling flesh
Unto its highest rigor, and be free
From all that lies below.
Beneath this sacred crest partitioning the long-estranged
Hypostases of timelessness and toil
A worthless nature writhes, unidylled, frantically inert,
And aching for a self-subverted peace.
Is that my destiny?
Or does a higher motion dwell within this dismal breast,
By which I could endeavor to endure
In still submiss the apogean kiln that immolates
All false debris, and fires the faultless form
That hides inside of me?
Take all that’s good within: outstretch, unfold the tiny point
Of infinite and life-enthralling light
That silently reposes in the center of the squalls
And miseries of its posterity
Into a puissant shape,
Epitomized in its unique perfection, as its kin,
Atop an undeclining golden age;
Would that ascendancy be mine?—or would I, thrown aside
As an extraneous vessel, only watch
Its heavenward escape?
Alighted effortlessly on the yawning azure plane
The Luminary, cool and pontiff-like,
Presides above the praises of her progeny, and sighs
A living redolence which sweeps them up
In transcendental rite;
As she to them, so they to me—and I aspire as they
To carve upon the all-anointed plane
A self-derived exemplar that, unmoving, moves the world,
And, surpliced by the noon, behold her with
An uneliding sight.
I have withdrawn into myself and looked, and I have found
The dim quiescence of a once-held spouse;
There lies the one true work made for these transience-addled hands:
To grasp the chisel, and restore them to
Their early, godlike shine.
For you and you alone, my Critic, do I make myself
At once the Statue and the Cypriot—
For nothing but the hope of finding in your loving eyes
My truth and legacy, forever fixed
Within the stainless shrine.
Luke Briner was raised in New York and is currently a Senior at St. John's College, Annapolis. He hopes to pursue a career in philosophy and writing after graduating.