Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cities and Thrones and Powers

Wall Inscription in Central Park Zoo, New York

Cities and Thrones and Powers

Cities and Thrones and Powers,
Stand in Time's eye,
Almost as long as flowers,
Which daily die:
But, as new buds put forth
To glad new men,
Out of the spent and unconsidered Earth,
The Cities rise again.

This season's Daffodil,
She never hears,
What change, what chance, what chill,
Cut down last year's;
But with bold countenance,
And knowledge small,
Esteems her seven days' continuance,
To be perpetual.

So Time that is o'er -kind,
To all that be,
Ordains us e'en as blind,
As bold as she:
That in our very death,
And burial sure,
Shadow to shadow, well persuaded, saith,
"See how our works endure!"

Rudyard Kipling

I was intrigued by the poem of the Mexican poet-king, Nezahualcoyotl that was engraved on a wall in the rain forest area of the Central Park Zoo. In the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art, many artifacts from past great cultures were on display;- China, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome...

Rudyard Kipling's poem speaks of the rise and fall of empires and of the fleeting nature of our time. KGMom has been writing about her recent trip to Greece and has posted many interesting pictures of historical sites and ruins in that country. Film makers frequently release movies about the end of our civilization as we know it. I am Legend is a post-apocalyptic science fiction story based in Manhattan. I watched it recently and wrote it off as wildly improbable. But we know instinctively that as the world continues, civilizations rise and fall, world powers shift and our personal lifespan is very insignificant.

It is good to contemplate our mortality and the meaning of our lives.

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;

the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children—

with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

Psalm 103:15-18


  1. A fascinating post although I had to read it several times to find your full meaning. Living in a country whose history predates the French in Quebec by many centuries, there is here a strong sense of time, ages and cultures past and present. Right now the government is trying hard to restore the previous cultures, indigenous languages, art and music with some success. Our missions goals have always consisted of wrapping the Christian teachings around the culture of the area or country and not Americanizing or Canadianizing the people. This is always most successful and gives us government approval. A good example is the Mexican Mariachi music in many of our services.

  2. Hi Mom- I was trying to imply, without directly saying so, that in spite of human efforts to preserve culture and achievement, man's works will fade and become insignificant over time. Likewise our own works fade to nothing. "Everlasting to everlasting" belongs to God and His blessing through future generations.
    It is a post of contemplation more than a post of firm answers. Sorry to be confusing! :-)

  3. Thought provoking, thanks Ruth--we need to concentrate on what endures.

  4. Lovely Sunday post. We all need to pause and give thought to these things.

  5. An interesting post. Our time here on earth is fleeting. I think our own importance, our own problems blind us to this realization. Perhaps we would lead our lives less frenetically if we considered what was really important ... to be at rest with God, His creation, His values ... to, in deed, become one with Him.

  6. Loved your post. When all is said and done - came to my mind.

  7. I loved this post! Thanks for the thoughtful meditation!

  8. Thanks for all your comments!


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