Patrick Dixon

Gorgeous Mistake

When they write the history
of humanity in the Last Scrolls,
what will be declared
the turning point
of our gorgeous mistake?

Will it be when Science,
that explorer who
puzzled the stars,
split the atom,
rode ahead shouting
Look! while outstripping
our ability to keep
a guiding hand
on the reins?

Or will the blame fall
on the flitting bird of our
curious talent to continually
look the other way?

Perhaps it is the moment
we handed salvation
to priests, imams, rabbis–
holy men with bowed
heads, our hands open
in petition: Please,
take this burden –
define the path
of crusade and jihad
for the rest of us.

Most likely it’s the line we crossed when
we granted power to shadows:
those who deceived the best,
had the most, spread butter
on the lies so they would taste better.

They don’t, you know.
Ask the frogs, belly-up in the water,
the Sperm whales, mouths overflowing plastic,
or the delicate white bones of passenger pigeons.

The bees will tell you. They’re busy
these days impersonating canaries.