Cairns (I)

If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious.
—Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus”

In recognition of my life, the gods
 provided me, in death,
 this mountain,
 this stone.
 And

forever… we all
 get that. But what good
 would forever be, without
 a mountain,
 a stone?

*

Sisyphus, the stone whispers,
 are you awake?

 All day its weight tears my limbs.
 All night it whimpers

in my ear, so that if I dream
 I dream
 of the sorrows of stones.

 No, I say. I’m sleeping.

*

The first time I scaled the mountain,
 those early years
 here in the dark,
 this body-breaking stone

was merely a pebble.
 In your sandal, right now,
 you surely have
 more or less the same one.

*

There weren’t always crowds. For a time
 no one came at all…
 until one day
 some of the damned
 stopped,

in whatever shape the gods gave
 their penance,
 to watch what they assumed
 was the shape of mine.

*

True: I angered the gods.
 And I’ve learned
 what mortals say, my toil
 pointless, a fate to avoid…

But to be a god’s concern
 is to be a god.
 Your fates
 are just like mine—but mine
 I earned.

*

When I despair, the stone reminds me
 how once this path
 was flat, a blackened plain…
 how someone

spent their own sad forever
 to build, rock on rock,
 this peak…

 That
 was me, I remind the stone.

*

Not much here
 gives comfort. Still, some days
 it helps to remember
 how time grinds mountains to stone,

stone to sand to…

  Too bad,
 the stone reminds me,
 you don’t have time.

 Forever, sure. But not time.

*

We manage, again, the summit.
 Almost.

 The view is what it is.
 Dim forests, dimmer clouds.                                                           

Below us somewhere, crowds
 of the suffering.

 How unlike them
 we are, the stone says

 and falls.

 

 

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