The silvered finger of the dawn, Hung suspended, framed forlorn, In the portal of an ancient shrine, Its malachite pilasters this magic morn, Were robed in celestial light, sublime.
And low upon yon grassy hill, Bathed in an ethereal glow, The very ground danced until, Incandescent particles, trembling throw, A shimmering veil which clamoured bright, Pouring from the casement white, And from the false door of the shrine, Emerged a maiden, held supine.
Across apace, atop a rock, Sat an old man in a ragged smock, With a face of chiselled marble, Like a prophet from an ancient fable, His long white hair cascaded, Over his shoulder, bent and jaded.
And betwix the two, a youth was seated, Of fair countenance, yet vexed, beleaguered, At the vision which sat now beside him, Clothed only in her dewy skin, Her doe-like eyes were bright and clear, Though she brushed aside a single tear: For this their story did unfold, On this mystic morning of old.
Held immobile in this curious spell, Memory spoke, her tale to tell, And Aston, the youth, now recalled, (His mind like a tapestry unravelling), Those long decades of travelling, Searching with an ardour never quelled, For that one great love whom in memory dwelt, Yet knelt now before him clothed in truth, Arcana, the lost love of his distant youth.
And as eternity hovered in the Egyptian door, Aston scanned the horizon of his dreams, Seeing now he had visited here before, A wanderer through this Arcadian realm, His sail set square, love at the helm, But vast this fabled land, and nought as it seems.
For it is the land of discarded myths, Where every traveller must pay a toll, And treck across the sandy drifts, In search of that which was cherished, Yet to find his erstwhile vision perished, Like the ring of hollow footfalls upon an empty soul.
And as the cold moon followed, learing, From between dark leaden cloud cover, His own Demons chased him, jeering, At this fool who with his own hand, Had turned his treasure into sand, And lost his one real true lover, By mindlessly laying with another.
For that same moon had smiled on them, Glowing lambent on ambrosial bowers, In woodland glades beset with flowers, On their golden bodies locked in love, It’s light shining benignly from above, But Arcana’s love had turned to hate, And she had locked her maiden’s gate, Aston had begged forgiveness; ‘twas all in vain, Banished: "Never to look on her again"
No more the sweet scent of passion flower, Lingering on his lips like sandlewood, Gone, loves lustration in her perfumed bower; The dewy fruit of her pearly loin, A blinding numbness impaled his groin: His elysian fields had turned to mud, As winter snows set his teeth to chattering, On some lofty, barren turkish plain, The wild wind sent his memories scattering, Stumbling over rock and stony cenotaph, Whereon was engraved his own epitaph, And Aston embraced the searing pain.
Ziggurats like golden forts towered, On high plateaux of rock and sand, Where red poppies and sagebrush flowered, A mount of olives once he saw, And though beholding it in awe, Aston missed that beckoning hand, Of the one who could have made him whole: Too late, the resurrection of his soul.
Citadels capped with glittering domes, Their bronze doors richly decorated, Hovels made of mud, called homes, These Aston past as he walked on by, And all fell to dust in his weary eye, As his own purgatory he created.
Presently he came into a new domain, Familiar, perhaps a haven at last, A place where ancient Gods had reigned; High gates and obelisks, tipped with golden light, Yet these marvels dimmed to his sight, Blighted by the ghosts of his tragic past.
Do pleasures of the flesh impound, Their mortal sin in further grief, And rest not ‘till their quarry’s aground, Love is dammed when impaled in rage, Bereft of feeling that it now engage, That sweating corpse to lay the wreath.
Thus thought Aston as he stumbled blind, Across desert sands deaf to his cries, The wrath of Ra laid waste his mind, His wretched body was in the grip of Seth, As the sun scorched his flesh, he prayed for death, And bitter tears soured his sightless eyes.
Yet what immortal hand or charm, Lifted him from that burning dune, As a pawn in the master’s palm, Placing Aston in a shady glade, Bedecked with temples and shrines of jade, Where cool zephyrs sighed to the waining moon.
As Aston’s thoughts returned to the present, Also sharing this fleeting moment, Arcana’s past flashed likewise before her, Her hurt and misery and years of torment; Hatred for the one who’d scorned her, (With another woman’s smell adorned her), Yet as a mirror darkens before the light, She had shut away that pallid thought, For she knew her love still burned bright, So that their pain became one single lament, Which now in the gateway of eternity was caught.
For the blue-black landscape of Heaven, A backdrop to these myriad stars, Had called to her in pictures riven, Of nights like this, in times now far, But spent in passion, once only given.
Hung suspended on the breathless air, This desert shrine had become her lair, From which mortal man had long departed, Leaving no trace, except that chartered, In chiselled stone where megaliths tower, Clamouring to long lost echilons of power, Forgotten now, forever gone. Like emblems of their departed song, Or as fragments of distant memory pass, Like quicksilver o’er darkening glass, But look, the herald of the brightening day, Sends slivers of silver where the Gods now play.
Arcana’s eyes are burning bright, As the web of eternity holds them raptured, In a vortex of spectral light, As her arm she rests on Aston’s shoulder, Forgiveness in her dark eyes smoulder, Broken the spell in which both were captured.
The silver chord that bound their souls, Returning, hovers in the silver mist, As the mystery of this day unfolds, And the blue haze of morn is kissed, By the rosy finger of the endless dawn.
The old man turns to look upon, Aston and Arcana in love’s embrace, In his eyes shine the wisdom of the aeon, His white hair billows as he strides, Towards, and through the shrine which hides, The mysteries of the human race.