Eulogy for a New Age

By Jonathan Mizrahi

“Pichincha” by Frederic Edwin Church, 1867
Cradling our head in her ancient arms, our mother sings us 
a final lullaby.
The dark melody extends from the depths of the forest
And the animals of the earth sway with a virginal serenity.
At peace with her nature and at peace with the world,
The sweet doe rests her head on the safe bosom  
of a wide eyed innocence.

While the order of the honeybee reasserts itself, 
the saint’s hymn stifles nature’s song.
Ignorant of his ignorance, the man of faith wanders in the forest
Armed with the gift of right and wrong.
The sun looks down upon the good man with a smile 
And lights its last cigar as it watches 
the narcoleptic captain sail beyond the horizon.

Suddenly, our mother shrieks as the child rips open 
the wise man’s prison.
As the babe quietly lays down to rest in the valley of chaos,
The dark lullaby once again pierces the sky.
Salt fills the graves above and the beast below runs with fright 
But the child sings along.

The saint’s hymn is finally broken by the child’s beautiful lament.
With the desire of a vulture drawn to the foul smell of rotting flesh,
The man dips his tongue into the sweet liqueur 
of the valley’s winding stream.
While the being of the future senses the return of a distant age,
The goddess of truth plants a blue lily in the fertile soil 
of the neglected garden.

A woman puts her child to sleep by softly humming 
a pleasant lullaby.
She then joins her family around the deathbed of their patriarch.
Having lived a celebrated life, the dying man looks upon all 
that he created 
And tries to sing a hymn that he once knew in his youth.
Unable to remember the tune, he simply smiles and accepts the end 
with grace.

After the patriarch’s funeral, our mother carves 
these words into his tombstone:
The arrival of history haunts the self-aware,
But peacefulness in death becomes the solid man’s final comfort.
The return of the gift does not necessitate the burning of the forest.