Civilization

Originally published on 7/15/2017

In the beginning, on water-lapped shores,
humans built an invisible machine.

They gathered together and, in the gathering,
made the machine stronger.

Those who embraced the machine thrived,
given opportunity and protection,
resources and wealth.

Some saw the machine with suspicion
and kept their distance, keeping tethers
to siphon what they could while
living the pastoral life they preferred.

Their suspicion was well-founded for,
on occasion, the machine needed to be fed,
women, men, children, and entire races,
the feeders rewarded by the machine.

But, while they thought their tethers kept them
apart and separate, it merely extended
the reach of the machine.

For ten thousand years, the machine grew
and stretched, to reach
into every crevice, crack and chasm.

In the beginning the machine rested on the world,
but, in time, it became the world.

In the end, when the machine breaks down,
it will turn on the people, killing multitudes,
and abandoning the rest.

When the machine lies, still and lifeless,
the remaining people
will declare the world ended.

They will despair and mourn,
possibly for generations,
until one day,
they will gather,
on the shore,
near some water,
and build an invisible machine.