Playing the Indian Card

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On the Night We Held the Moon for Ransom

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the beach,... now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. 

- Sir Isaac Newton

As we arose in bedroom clothes and toed along the beach
And casting out past dark and doubt, past stones in common reach
A net we threw of gold and dew returned us something rare
A thing long known, cold and alone, above--we thought--all care.

And homeward bound through hilltops crowned with silence and with snow
The way was high, the way was steep, the way was far to go;
And riding down through sundark town, the captive moon our guide,
I laughed until I could not laugh, and, sick from laughing, cried.

We called our feat from street to street, as lamp to lamp caught fire;
'Till some crank called out "Mountebank!" and others echoed, "liar!"
And casting off the swaddling cloth, to show old friend new prize--
We found the stone we'd found was only water and God's lies.

And all we knew we were, could be, or someday might become
Melted like that ice and left us naked in that sun;
And all we knew we were, had been, or someday still might be
Fell back and fell away, like foam, stone-broken, to the sea.

-- Stephen K. Roney

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