the tower of contemplation

all through his life
he worked with the mud
the rich black silt that came anew each year
when the river flooded
and grew the food he depended on

with the grey powdered clay
that baked hard in the dry months
and turned the road into a slippery slither
when the sometime rains
fell across the country

he studied it in the walls of his hut
an adobe mixture with strands of straw
visible on the smooth surface

and with each new day
he gazed up at the heavens
the peerless blue of summer
unblemished by any wisp of cloud

the golden sun that drove the seasons
and burnt his back as brown as coffee
a harsh master that punished all
when it prevented the wet season

then at night the stars
always his ritual
before the blessing of sleep
demanded by weariness
was to gaze for long moments upward
at the points and shapes and designs

and on a day like any other
but unlike them all
he began to work with the mud
to dig it and water it
mix it with straw
and form it into workable bricks

brick after brick he formed
for a long season
stacked together while they dried
and he made more until he had reached
a mighty number

and came then a morning
he laid out his first row of bricks
in the form of a circle
and then another
rising up from the ground
he made a scaffold and laid more bricks

inside
a staircase to follow the construction
around and around
higher and higher

he built until the tower grew slender
and could accept no more bricks
and here he built a platform of timber
and placed a mat

in the nighttime now
he dreamt of his tower and its height
how a lowly man could rise
literally
through the boon of his own labour
to be near to the heavens

in the cold dark
before the first trace of light
he would slowly climb the steps of his creation
until he could kneel upon the mat
cast his eyes to the stars
and await the first colour touch
on the eastern horizon

sometimes his voice might be heard faintly

ahhh ahhh it is good

it is good


© Frank Prem, 2010

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3 thoughts on “the tower of contemplation

  1. This was simply amazing.

    I love how the descriptions of the man and his labor are done in such an elegant, awe-inspiring way. It really makes one think that, as long as we do our best, we, too, can reach for the heavens. All we have to do is work hard, to never give up.

    Thank you for this! I truly enjoyed this piece of art.

    Liked by 1 person

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