From the Domain at Arnheim

From the Domain of Arnheim And so that all these ages, these years we cast behind us, like the smoke-clouds dragged back into vacancy when the rocket springs – The domain of Arnheim was all snow, but we were there. We saw a yellow light thrown on the icefield from the huts by the pines, and laughter came up floating from a white corrie miles away, clearly. We moved on down, arm in arm. I know you would have thought it was a dream but we were there. And those were trumpets – tremendous round the rocks – while they were burning fires and trash and mammoths’ bones. They sang naked, and kissed in the smoke. A child, or one of their animals, was crying. Young men blew ice crystals off their drums. We came down among them, but of course they could see nothing on their time scale. Yet they sensed us, stopped, looked up – even into our eyes. To them we were a displacement of the air, a sudden chill, yet we had no power over their fear. If one of them had been dying he would have died. The crying came from one just born: that was the cause of the song. We saw it now. What had we stopped but joy. I know you felt the same dismay, you gripped my arm, they were waiting for what they knew of us to pass. A sweating trumpeter took a brand from the fire with a shout and threw it where our bodies would have been – we felt nothing but his courage. And so they would deal with every imagined power seen or unseen. There are no gods in the domain of Arnheim. We signalled to the ship; got back our lives and days returned to us, but haunted by deeper souvenirs than any rocks or seeds. From time the souvenirs are deeds. Edwin Morgan

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