Marly Youmans Near the End of the World
Once wrestled into place, the stones were walls
Of coastal towers where the resolute
Lit lamps and labored in the ancient way.
These were the ones afflicted by the word,
Who toiled in joy or dole because to make
The sweet sounds sing together was a gift
That couldn’t be renounced. And when the world
In turning turned away the magic sea
—Its depth, electrogenic light, and dreams—
Turning instead to shallower waters,
Mechanical romances, pixel-quests,
Most any product stuttering-fast and bright,
The singers did not yield and often said
So long as there was one for whom the word
Could conjure vision, they would not cease work.
In time a singer proved the only one
—The oceanic last—but did not stop.
How silly they look now—who gave their best
To live as none would any longer live,
Like bubbling fountains in a wilderness.