An Old Story

By Tracy K. Smith

We were made to understand it would be
Terrible. Every small want, every niggling urge,
Every hate swollen to a kind of epic wind. 
 
Livid, the land, and ravaged, like a rageful 
Dream. The worst in us having taken over 
And broken the rest utterly down. 
 
                                                                 A long age 
Passed. When at last we knew how little 
Would survive us—how little we had mended 
 
Or built that was not now lost—something 
Large and old awoke. And then our singing 
Brought on a different manner of weather. 
 
Then animals long believed gone crept down 
From trees. We took new stock of one another. 
We wept to be reminded of such color.

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