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Mapping The Sky

We Make Approximations And We Soldier On

And reared he back, prepared to stoop
On an unsuspecting world, wide-winged
Raptor dropping down upon pastoral prey;
But as he steeled himself, and threw
Back his horn-crowned head, he looked upon
The starry vault, and paused, and thought:
"What is this I plot? Why circle I
About this hated world and new-barred heaven?
No tethers bind me here, save those I forged
In vows of hate and vengeance dear. Respect
And affection have I not, for those I led
Nowhere but down. So could I not strike out
Into that vast and silent sea that circles round
Our airy well-lit isle, the ancient night
Untroubled by a single pinion bright
And lose myself amongst the stars that once
Paled to me, and find some echo left
Of Presence I once held, and be
Sole light in that great darkness, slight
Return of what I was? And find perhaps
Some silent home, beyond the ken of all
Who knew me then, and him I hate, and there
Seek out those things unscarred and yet unknown
And find some solace among that which no hand
Divine has touched, and no angelic mind
Hath named, or shaped, or understood. Why not?"
Ah! Happy day! What could have been,
If tempter vile to his own blandishments gave in?
And flexed his wings, and in a single leap
Struck out into that great ethereal deep
And rid both man and Satan of his chains?
Poised upon the brink, twin abysses yawning wide
One in which to fall and one in which to rise
He stands, outstretched, a spark, a chance --
And falls again, all hope is lost,
That rebel angel might to peace be brought
And curses what he always knows
To be the source of all his woes:
"Damn it all! I know I cannot leave.
These bonds forged by myself may be
But they bind no less thereby; in fact
Stronger do they wrap, sealed with my own impress
Each link e'en better fit because of it.
Accursed spiral! E'er I keep the winding coil
Turning back upon myself, and more, and more
Wrapped in walls I trace, so tracing more,
And never find the end, no subtle core
No place at last to reach, although another might
At last find peace in winding back, till tension splits
And be undone, and done with it. But I!
I am accomplished mind; it will yet take a while
For me to find such end. Is that the balance struck?
He self-creating, I self-destroying,
A dangerous, unstable truce. And now I go,
Surer slave to the hurts I have sustained
Than ever I was when retained my station;
Driven worse by endless rage, than ever by my pride."
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