The Old Man had sent word,
he was ready for the awaited reveal.
The army of excitable diggers turned out,
properly attired in pith helmets and scarves.

Each with their tools, should they be required,
picks and shovels and brushes large and small.
Escaping their tents and braving the sand,
anxious ants streaming from their mound,

doubting the reports of what had been found.
Traipsing through the uncovered ruins,
instinctually bunching in twos and threes,
conversing in hushed tones, whispering rumors.

Blown sand dancing and swirling around them
like ignored ghosts frolicking around new found friends,
sweat constantly flowing, heat being omnipresent.
Ignoring the crumbling walls and preserved frescos,

indifferent to the wondrous statuary lining the path.
These uncovered discoveries no longer of interest
in this city recently released from desert sands.
The academic troop all uniformed in browns and tans,

(an occasional rebellious flash of a colored kerchief)
merge in sudden silence where the Old Man waits.
Somber…squatting in a modest doorway,
squinting into the sun, hat covering his knee,

alternating his gaze between
the anxious arrivals and the sand he scooped,
slowly pouring it from hand to hand…
letting it blow away, and starting again.

No words being said, all wait instructions;
he stands, sighs, moves aside,
giving way to those so eager to see… to discover.
Surging ahead they crowd through the door,

coming up short when they see what the old man
has uncovered beneath the sand.
Huddled in the corner are bones,
the first found in this abandoned town.

There are two sets, skeletons still whole,
softly glowing, preserved by dry heat.
One large, seven feet if it were to stand,
large boned, it would have been strong, imposing.

Human in appearance apart from the size…
and the enormous, delicate, bones extending
from his back, forming the wings folded around them.
The other was smaller but formed the same,

cradled childlike against the chest of the larger Angel,
two small hands clinging to one of its guardian’s.
The stunned diggers barely breathed,
many crying, falling to their knees;

others ran to escape their new knowledge.
The Old Man was drifting out into the desert,
hat in hand, forsaking protection,
tears forming and drying before they could fall.

No destination, no intention of stopping or surviving,
knowing only that he must leave,
for there was nothing left to find.
Now that he had found the ruins of Paradise

and the bones of the last Angels…
there was nothing left to find.


Filed under Poetry

33 responses to “Bones

  1. Shared at the dVerse Poets Pub for their anniversary Open Link Night. Stop by and show some love for the poets and the dVerse staff.

  2. This is quite amazing– very powerful– in some places it’s a bit prosey, but overall fascinating. A few things: instinctually not a word per se– instinctively… a few other minor tweaks I’m sure you’ll catch. Well done. j

  3. Wow, what a great anniversary poem, with a super-duper staggering ending !!

  4. dang man…fascinating storytelling…ugh, i dont know how i would react to unearthing the angel, still holding on to the one it strove to protect….i was entranced man…

  5. Pingback: Bones | Pure Poetry |

  6. Pingback: Bones « thebleedingpen

  7. Mark…again, AMAZING! I can taste the arid air, the sand, and my heart stopped at their discovery…your pen has indeed unearthed a gem with this one. Fantastic!

  8. This is incredible Mark. Once again I am in awe at your skill. The turn this took as the skeletons were revealed … magical.

  9. Stunning story, Mark. Loved the line “tears forming and drying before they could fall.”

  10. You have talent. This story made me feel the tears dry before they fell. Beautiful work.

  11. So relieved it wasn’t gold that had them all a dither. This was quite lovely.

  12. a captivating write mark..excellent work on letting the scene develop right before our eyes

  13. poemsofhateandhope

    so powerful, and conceptually excellent…what a story….found myself totally engaged….and then to learn of the mortality of angels….thats heavyweight and with so many implications….

  14. Great storytelling, Mark; so vivid and such great detail. I normally get bored with one this long, but you held my interest quite well and, with the powerful ending, I’m glad you did! Nice one!

  15. An intriguing story that built to a moving end. Very nicely done.

  16. This seriously gave me chills.

  17. A really cool poem, Mark. You tell the poetic tale well. Hope you visit my blog. Will look forward to reading more of your work.

  18. Storyteller, I bow to your power to make us linger in the landscape while you build suspense and heat and grit, and wonder in parallel to a story like “Planet of the apes” but more profound.

  19. What a powerfully inspiring tale! Amazing writing, Mark! 😀

  20. A wonderful tale well woven, Mark. Glad I stuck it out to the end, as each stanza added to the wonderful whole!

  21. I enjoyed this poem, and given that you mentioned in response to other comments it is a work in progess (aren’t all poems really?) I wanted to point out that in the fourth stanza second line- ghost should be plural- but what a great stanza. I also dug the closing. Peace.

  22. What a tale! I wonder about the aftermath of that. I also wonder about the Old Man, who is he and his story might be.

  23. peggygoetz

    You captured me from the start. Great storytelling! I was actually worried you’d leave it a mystery at the end!

  24. Absolutely wonderful writing. I was riveted from the start. Great poem to celebrate the wonder of poetry, and dVerse’s birthday!

  25. Abin Chakraborty

    the idea of an archaeological dig for lost paradise with angels’ bones is fantastic.very well wrought.the Old Man could well be lost humanity exposed now to the eternal desert of the condemned.awesome.

  26. Mark, the etheral meets the earthy in this tale of the intersection of the two worlds here. The Old Man, to me, an angel of some form, a visionary or a vision? Left to the reader. I was captivated by this. Thanks so much, Amy

  27. Mark, a fabulous poem, in both literal and current meanings of that over-used word. Maybe it is still a WIP, but it surely tells the story in a way to grab the closest attention. If you change much, it will be a shame – there are many lovely lines – but I’d like to read any later versions.

    • Thank you Viv. I am going to try not to change the story, mostly need to remove some superfluous language (adjectives/adverbs). TIghten and clean it up a little.
      I will certainly send you a copy of the final revision.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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