The Descent of Man
My failure to evolve has been causing me a lot of grief lately. I can't walk on my knuckles through the acres of shattered glass in the streets. I get lost in the arcades. My feet stink at the soirees. The hills have been bulldozed from whence cameth my help. The halfway houses where I met my kind dreaming of flickering lights in the woods are shuttered I don't know why. "Try," say the good people who bring me my food, "to make your secret anguish your secret weapon. Otherwise, your immortality will be an exhibit in a vitrine at the local museum, a picture in a book." But I can't get the hang of it. The heavy instructions fall from my hands. It takes so long for the human to become a human! He affrights civilizations with his cry. At his approach, the mountains retreat. A great wind crashes the garden party. Manipulate singly neither his consummation nor his despair but the two together like curettes and peel back the pitch-black integuments to discover the penciled-in figure on the painted-over mural of time, sitting on the sketch of a boulder below his aching sunrise, his moody, disappointed sunset.
Copyright © 2010 by Vijay Seshadri. Used with permission of the author.
Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India, in 1954 and came to America at the age of five.
Date Published: 2010-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/descent-man