By: Ann Christine Tabaka
I tell a tale of after man …
I walk past the decay of another era, an eyesore to the senses, as it crumbles from nonuse. Man has always built monuments to himself in towering structures, reaching ever skyward. The tallest shall win in the end. But, man has no use for things that do not bring him glory and riches. So now, long forgotten, iron turns to rust, and concrete turns to dust.
No more laughter fill these halls, nor echo off these walls. Songs no longer sung, dinner bells no longer rung. A vertical graveyard of well-worn memories fades with each setting of the sun. Each day a little colder, each night a little darker. A forgotten building calls out for redemption from all its past sins. Its empty windows, the sad eyes of our souls, see beyond the pain of reality. A metal frame, the brittle skeleton of old age.
Abandoned building, abandoned lives, abandoned hope. It is all that is left. A cold wind blows through the emptiness. Rains flood the floors of disbelief. Snow carpets once warm interiors.
A painting, faded and torn, still shows the beauty of its youth. Look deeper, and you will see its worth. Oh, the stories that these rooms could tell today if they could but speak. But, wait, did they ever speak? An entire world has come and gone in this structure’s existence. How many generations, and how many lifetimes have passed this way? Now spurned, it remains, not quite standing, but not fallen. It just is. Or is it? Carefully observe as the story unfolds …
Once, not all that long ago, the living earth filled this space with trees and grass and wildlife, but now because of man’s greed, nothing appears to remain of the living. Man tore down nature to put up his edifice, hoping for profit and fame. Man tore down beauty to put up a symbol of his superiority. Taking over every inch of land, one parcel at a time. He wants to possess what is not his to own, to lord over all that exists. What can it be, that causes such desires as this? To build and keep on building?
Gone now are the nesting birds and mammals that used to call this piece of land home. The animals that used to roam these grounds fled for their lives as large machines invaded their beloved forests and fields. Thundering bulldozers belching oil and smoke. Trucks, and trains, and death. Humans by the hundreds welding, hammering, building. The noise, the smell, the overwhelming invasion. I can almost see it in my mind, and feel their fear, as I walk by this place today.
Yet, in the aftermath of man’s destructive deeds, a glimmer of hope reappears. A leaf, a blade of grass. A weed, a sapling, a bush. All start to reclaim their birthright. Growing every stronger, taller, filling in cracks and crevices. Bringing beauty back to where there was none for all these many years. A bird here a mouse there, one after another they come, finding a cozy nook to establish their new homes. Soon, larger trees and animals wander back. It is a different world now, one filled with cold steel and stone, but Mother Nature is an opportunist, and unlike man, nothing will go to waste. Joy once more takes a foothold, can beauty be far behind? The world is a wondrous place if we but give it a chance.
The same story is told over and over again in so many places upon this planet, and perhaps the universe. Life to death to life. Beginning to the end, and beginning again. And man always has a hand in it. As long as humankind exists, they will try to be the masters of all. Will we ever ascertain what really matters? Will we say our contrition, will we pay our penance? Empty buildings, symbols of so many things. Some grew out of greed, some out of need, and others out of love. Businesses, stores, and homes. So many stand cold and forgotten now. There is a lesson to learn here, but is mankind capable of such lessons? And yes, there is even an absolute beauty in the emptiness of the abandoned dream. The shapes, colors, and textures of our mistakes, and our successes. It calls to us to know our past transgressions and examine what we really want from our lives. As the old saying goes, we learn from our past, be it mistakes, or successes. So let us move on from there.
We must look to the past, as we look to the future. All is not loss or gain. There is so much to learn from ravaged lives. Eyes open to the simple beauty of what is real. An abandoned building stands for its own truth. It is a reminder to us all of what is important and what is not.
We cannot change what has already taken place, but we can change the direction to which we turn. Let old sins lie fallow, and a new life to begin. An abandoned building is not abandoned hope, it is the new tomorrow.
I walk past the decay of another era, but now I see a new era unfold before my eyes.
It is to this death and rebirth that I dedicate this poem:
Nothing more exists, but the wind in the trees,
translated into whispers by vanishing time.
All that was is no more.
Spread thinly with busyness and strife
there is nothing left to give to tomorrow.
The night swallowed up all.
Red carpets and black limousines,
things of the past.
Books left open with no one to read.
Nature has taken over
with no thought of loss.
The best will survive as it always has been.
a salute to the past.
The earth continues to spin.
Ann Christine Tabaka has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications.
She lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and three cats.
Her most recent credits are: Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos; Pangolin Review, Trigger Fish Critical Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, Mused, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review; Fourth & Sycamore.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Christine Tabaka – Pushcart Prize in Poetry Nominee
Instagram: #christinetabaka #annchristinetabaka /
Other poems by Ann Christine Tabaka on Two Drops of Ink
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