Two Poems

By A. D. Foote

The Volapükists

The last remnant gathered on the mountain
At the hour the astrologers foretold:
‘There will be rains of fire and dews of blood:
God’s wrath will shrivel up a godless planet,
And after that, the dawn of Paradise.’

They waited: the hour passed.
Nothing happened: only a little rain fell.
When their food ran out, some began to mutter,
Some openly to doubt;
Then, one by one, they descended from the mountain.

Some to settle again in their old homes,
Others to castigate their children
In simple vengefulness,
Others to practise the magic formula,
Which, though failed once, might work a second time . . .

Since then most are gone, commemorated
By here and there a grassy mound, a plaque
In a crematorium, or a set of pamphlets
Offered at half‑price by some booksellers,

But nothing can recapture
The urgency and bliss of that far‑off morning
When the whole earth trembled and was still.

The Esperantists

Like searchlights probing the evening clouds
They grope across heavens,
Trying to encompass their ideal.
Their beams at first are wavering, unsure:
Across the continents,
The obscene frontiers of mud and wire,
They mesh and mingle, one with another.

Hearing a well‑known voice among the noise
Of many thousand strangers
They home at once
(The talented exchange their views of life,
The simple, cards and postage stamps)
‘You are a member of the Kingdom also?
Welcome to our midst and to your future.’

Such are the saints anonymous, the zaddikim
For whom God stays his wrath upon the planet,
The architects of the Celestial City.

A set of cranks or Heaven's chosen people?
When our technology is dust, and laid in ruins
The cancer of our greed and ostentation,
These will survive, chanting their simple joys
As the raven and the dove survived the Deluge.

A. D. Foote, author of these poems, says they “are meant to be descriptive of two kinds of ‘millenial’ faith, one succeeding and one not”. He resides in Dundee, Scotland, and is the author of many poems, composed both in English and Esperanto.

SOURCE: Foote, A[rthur[ D[awson]. Two Poems [“The Volapükists”, “The Esperantists”], Eco-logos [Incorporating Biophilist Magazine and International Language Reporter], vol. XXII, no. 82, 4th quarter, 1976, p. 11.

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