From Birth to Blackout by Sean Rayburn
This birth begins in the silence,
a birth born from the still silence of blacked-out dark.
From their seats they all hold their breath in mixed reverence, fear, and anticipation—
Then lights! Eyes accustomed to darkness blink, bewildered
and find the stage already set.
These blinking infant eyes observe as lovers love,
nations war and reconcile and war again,
brothers slaughter brothers, blood still on their hands.
Sons search for their father’s love,
and fathers search for some scrap of something to leave their children.
This and more, these eyes watch, enraptured
as men and women walk the parados and dance the orchestra;
they dance their dance of sex, blood, crosses, corpses,
laughter, love, loss, fortune, fame, tears, life, and death.
They see weeping mothers, laughing children,
and kings’ eyes plucked out in shame.
And before these eyes can blink again— Lights out!
Now a world has come and gone, a world eons old,
yet was born just today. And these eyes who’ve wept
and pined for shadows, shadows polished like mirrors
in which the eyes saw themselves and were undone.
Here we were born. Here we loved. Here we lived. Here we died.
Here we betrayed, here we laughed, here we lied.
Here was our triumph and our defeat.
Here these eyes, these thousand lives now end as they were born,
in the still silent womb of blacked-out dark.