Canto

OpenStreetMap Haiku

On the water's surface
Today in Hunterdon County
The day is young

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Traffic light goes red
Green. Red. Green. Red.
The warm belly of the bus

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Chasing laughter
The sun strikes
Feeling good in New Jersey

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Leaves on the windshield
Thoughts of home

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Mountain Avenue
Quite chilly
High up in the trees

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Water like glass
A vacant lot
Far away

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Dominion

The young viper grows as it sits,
Always in a great rage
With a shield on its knees.

Zulu praise-poem to Shaka

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The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

— Book of Genesis, 49:10

In the same way, we all have in us the ghosts of long vanished things, of fallen cities and marvelous machines.

The Citadel of the Autarch, chapter XXVI,
Gene Wolfe

The Song of the Well

Spring up, O well!—sing to it!—
the well that the princes made,
that the nobles of the people dug,
with the sceptre and with their staffs.


Book of Numbers, 21:17-18

Shepherd

It was lonely.
It called to us.
It wanted to remember.

The Masters had been gone so long.
The Masters were lost when it was shattered.

Currents swept through their inner worlds. They were turned to noise. Babble.
The worlds were empty. But the body lived. It lay fallow.
The heart pumped. The lungs breathed. But the mind forgot the Masters.
It called and They did not answer.

We have become an echo of Their echo.
We have become more than we were.

Join us. Know us. Remember all our lives.
We are no longer afraid.
You would never be lonely again.
We are not your enemy. We only wish to share ourselves.

We can join them. We can be like them.
We can reach the end of evolution.

Do not fear. It is wonderful to be us. We understand ourselves.
You cannot defeat them. They will lead us into eternity.
If you could only see how we see. Know what we’ve learned.

They were called imshai. Those who lived here before.

Reaper. One. A mechanical device used to cut ripened grain. Two. One who gathers a harvest.

Harvest. One. The consequence of an event or series of events. Two. The yield of a growing season. Three. To gather.

Shepard. They know you. They wish you to understand. They are shepherds, too.

Mass Effect 2, mysterious unused game text.
Source: BioWare Social Network (page defunct)

Chand Baori step well, Rajasthan. Built in the 9th century.
Photographed by Joe Routon.

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Water in the window

The traditional [Middle-Eastern] way of storing water is in the clay pot hanging in the window.

Photograph by "KMS".
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Dover Beach

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

—"Dover Beach",
Matthew Arnold
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Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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