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The guardians are gone –
They take to silent paths
Beyond the poet's words,
Beyond the jester's laugh,
Beyond charisma's flail
In Cortes' cauldron cast.
Before the fail-safe fails
"Return to the past!"
"Return to the past!"

Cold winds once blew at night,
But now by day as well;
And it was long ago,
My son, I heard them tell
Of all the sky a sea
And all the world its pearl –
Now see what's come to be
As we journey toward hell
Journey toward hell.

Where now that brave new world
Whose promise we embraced?
We saw its flag unfurled,
Then turned away our gaze.
Where is that grace divine,
Foundation of our faith?
No gods from our machine
Emerge to keep us safe
Or purge us of disgrace.

Return to the past!
Turn back the hands of time;
Tomorrows cannot last,
They unravel and unwind.

Can we return to the past?
No, our bark has sailed too late.
Adrift, its crew is cast
Upon the fickle tide of fate.

To tread the hallowed ways,
Once more to feel the earth,
I'd pay the penance-price:
To bear the death-sting scourge;
Fear not the wrath of gods
To sate my fatal urge,
To cut my Gordian knot,
Seeking a second birth
A second birth.

Return to the past!
Lay waste the sands of time;
Into the hour-glass
Pour sulphur, mercury, and lime.

There is no return to the past,
No escape ... no reprieve.
A future comes at last
Wherein we grieve,
Wherein we may grieve,
Wherein we
photo by Stephen Alsford

Created: November 17, 2014. Last modified: August 10, 2016 © Stephen Alsford