They are polishing their beloved idols again
from atop their revered ivory towers;
rubbing the gleaming marble skin
and feeling self-important at all hours.
While they polish each illustrious person
and repeat their prayers in sanctimonious halls,
a cynical crack branches like a creeping curse on
the base of the tower—until it crumbles and falls.
They pray to their idols for whatever cures
might be forthcoming in this catastrophe,
and are shocked when their heroic figures
keep their silence with blank-faced apathy.
To polish icons that crown your culture
when you need to tend to the foundation
is to forego the needful until it totters, full sure,
to collapse across the malcontent nation.
Apollo’s light never accomplished half so much
as the engineering flame stolen by Prometheus,
nor is his academic light so warm to the touch
as the Titan’s flame bestowed to free us.
But who wouldn’t rather be Apollo spreading light
instead of a Titan chained to a mountain slab
as a menial vulture takes bite after bite
while complacent gods lounge and gab?
The oily, stinking tool shop of a tinker
accomplishes more than any ivory tower
because it is in the former that a doer and thinker
may forge the turbines to harness true power—
including power from the stagnating breath
of idle gods too preoccupied to help us
as they listen only to themselves, utterly deaf
within the bright—yet cold—halls of Olympus.