The Cataclysm

Even through the City of the Dead she passed,
Her sack of Horror’s harvest to refill;
And lo, into the untilled world she cast,
With a million hands, the black seeds of her will.
But in the bone-strewn waste I saw a snail
Crawling out of the socket of a skull,
Exultant still;—
Rising from the universal bane
To thank the rain.

And in the thorny flanks of the riven tomb,
Gorged yesteryear with the fruits of fear and doubt
The nations bear when their sinews run out,
I saw the crocus weave her tender bloom
Into the ivy’s tangled hair,
While struggling out of the gloom
To praise the air.

The Cataclysm, passing to her goal.
Turned inside out the pockets of the world,
Not sparing even the altar of the soul,
Which at the cradle of the soul she hurled.
But when at last she fell
Across the sill of hell,
I saw her incalculable toll,
A butterfly
Winging out of the riddled emblem of God
Toward the sky;—
Rising with the faith re-won
To serenade the sun.

From A Chant of Mystics (James T. White & Co., 1921) by Ameen Rihani. This poem is in the public domain.