On the road from arithmetic to arrhythmia,
The integers end in “Our Father who art in”;
Far beyond genesis or the parthenian,
Across the parapet of trivia,
The signpost reads: This way to oblivion.
In simple calculations or calculated scheming,
The Rock of Ages erodes sine nomine :
The sand runs down into silt, into streaming;
Inscriptions are lost in the weeds, and Mnemosyne
Sprawls on the gravel, disheveled, unseemly;
Certitude ends; what is mete sinks into anomie
Along the canal from Date of Birth to Anno Domini.
But isn’t it always that edges are strewn
With choked undergrowth, a tangled fettering?
For now the adamant milestones leap hewn
In facets and the beauty of their lettering.
NOTES for Students of English
From arithmetic to arrhythmia – Suggests the period from childhood (when one learns arithmetic) to old age (when one suffers from heart ailments).
The integers end in “Our Father who art in” – Suggests that the number of years in one’s life ends with the Lord’s Prayer at death.
sine nomine – (Pronounced SEE-nay NOM-i-nee) Latin for “without a name.”
Mnemosyne – (Pronounced ne-MOS-i-nee) The Greek goddess of memory and mother of the Muses.
Mete – (Pronounced meet) A play on two meanings: 1) (as a noun) a boundary; 2) (as an adjective in its archaic spelling) fitting, proper; morally right or just.
from Date of Birth to Anno Domini – Suggests a switch from secular, bureaucratic bookkeeping to a religious calendar style.
Adamant – (Pronounced AD-a-mant) A play on two meanings: 1) strongly insistent, unyielding; and 2) hard and lustrous like a diamond.