GARY STEVEN CORSERI The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? William Butler Yeats I was pushed without my permission nto a tangle of birthdays. isten, eavesdroppers, there is no such thing as a bed without affliction Lucille Clifton Hope springs eternal in the human breast. Alexander Pope Five thousand years pointing at the sun; Five thousand years at moon and stars; Rising out of sand, each building block A Mac Truck of solidity, sheer weight Defying reason, begging the question, How? Five thousand years of pharaohs and invaders Semites, Hyksos, Hittites, Nubians, Romans, Turks, Frenchmen, Anglos, Yanks And the Nile flooding, the Nile receding, And all along its banks: Life and commerce; birth, love, suffering, death. Akhnaton sleeps with the first dream of God; Boyish Tut and long-lived Ramses; Cheops And asp-kissed Cleopatra. Bored French troops Take pot-shots at the Sphinx; Nelson slaps The Little Emperors fleet; the world winds on; Gamal Abdel Nasser sleepsall entombed In the embracing sands of the enchanting dream. And then, in an instant, the sun dial of the pyramids Moves a degree, shudders between Shadowy and luminous and the awakened behold In the mirrors of compatriot eyes Themselvessinging, dancing in streets and bazaars, With the old world scratching, gawking, How? And, Why now? What next? But it is as though Those apexes of stone, those points of light Have punched like awls through leathery Time To the enveloping atmosphere Of what has been, Notched the belt of our perceptions, Knocking from our human solar plexus The breath of wonder seeing emerging From beneath the Sphinxs haunches A blood-swaddled babe, wailing Possibilities. Dissident Voice