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In the shadow of the Great Tower
a man ran, laboring,
not so young any more.
He ran through the Open Gates,
fighting the steady flow of emigrants and artisans,
of the hopeful and hopeless,
of those seeking human commerce and human contact.
He ran into the desert in solitude,
seeking a promise of salvation,
heeding a single command:
Get up and go!
The city had been named bab-ilani,
Gates of Heaven,
yet the holy book of the nomads would call it, Chaos,
and ridicule it as the self-center of babel.
Indeed, before its fall, it was
the center of Culture,
the jewel of Civilization,
the monument of Human Ingenuity:
whose Great Tower connected humankind once again
with the gods, under one language, amen, for the first time since
But this man Abraham knew salvation was not to be found
in the seething shadow of great works;
rather, it is in the lives of sons and daughters forever and ever,
in the promise of children, and childrens children,
in the hope of a single child
if it be his own.
And so, when he heard the voice
inside his mind, pounding between his busy eyes and deafened ears,
a voice that said, Father,
calling like a son from a sweet and tender future,
he ran forward, into the wilderness,
and did not look back.
Salvation © 1998-99 by Tobin James Mueller
"Ash" published by ArtsForge Press.
All rights reserved.