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Daybreak! The witness from shadow came striding,
Arrogant youth in his eagle's proud guise,
Spat out bravado and cast himself skyward
Cruciform fixture, to stare in the eyes
Of the captive prize.

Across the cliff-walls (prison stones)
Into the unknown East, oft-thrown
Javelin meteors – ardour's flames
Spurring on the flier's aims.
On the route, through mid-sea straits,
Erebus waits with open gates
To welcome fallen heroes home.

Rare bird, prodigy, innocent child:
When your father stretched forth his hand
To cut short the trial,
Did you understand?

Scorched by the first light of a dazzling jewel,
Captured aloft in a prism of gold,
Flight could not take you where beauty had beckoned;
Plummeting blinded, now lie so cold
Beside heroes bold.

Now peace you angel, stir no more!
Tender your soul, surrender war's
Burning passion: your desire;
Hades is of ice, not fire.
In that realm of night's preserve
Priest and princeps, Lucifer,
Is oracle and orator.

Dark-faced catafalque, altar of Hell,
In the place of the sacrifice,
Where Icarus fell
From a starless sky,

Children fish new dreams of glory, from oceans
Stretching eternal through future and past,
Net dread of dying or promise in rumours
In wind-rippled waters, spin games of chance
To catch where they cast ....

Hot blood, the gifts of youth – shall such decide
If the soul breaks free from its shell,
To rise? Or subside
To a grim stone bed in Hell?
St. Michael's Victory over the Devil, by Sir Jacob Epstein
photo: Stephen Alsford

Created: November 17, 2014. © Stephen Alsford