The past does not fade, nor does it decline;
It merely grows louder, slightly, tone by tone,
Until its vast din is blank as silence.
The grand chords boom on for some time:
Caesar and Charlemagne, Curie, Capone—
Centuries will mute their once crucial sense.
My songs are lost, as all will be at last,
Unremembered as a minor fiefdom,
Its peasants who tilled fields and died in wars.
As we gain the crest, what we lose goes fast.
Goals fray into ragged, rebellious outcomes,
Announced by anonymous ambassadors.
The roar of dates and battles grows louder,
Drowns all who care, and all who do not care.
Originally in American Literary Review
-– Ernest Hilbert