He was ensconced in a fashion he was accustomed.
Four bare walls of stone. No light. No water except
the slimy seepage creeping down the walls.
A pot for his excrement. A daily plate of gruel in
exchange for the pot, so foul and full of maggots
that he relished their protein.
He could not remember how long he was so accustomed.
He only remembered, his thoughts, his schemes, dreams.
His thoughts of relativity, drama, great art, and mathematics.
They filled his days with wonder and his nights with passion.
For the lord who put him there was a stupid, greedy little oaf,
who knew only to procreate, eat, beat and fight, and fear
that the world around him was going to take away his dear.
And take away they did, like countless greedy before,
a short, brutal life of terror and war, of no consequence.
But he came forth hence, forgotten in the dark, no pretense.
Each day richer than the day before. A semaphore.
Of tropical volcanoes and black beaches under blue sky.
Of verdant farmland reaching to mountains of snowy peak,
and blue sky fading into black filled with stars and wonder.
He thought not of plunder or pillage but of them and her.
Of the wonders he could wrought with the anvil of his mind.
A science left behind where men would fly and discover,
the innards of the Earth and all that play upon the land
in his hand as though it were only yesterday he held them.
He became so accustomed that he felt nothing of fear.
Year after year his mind grew until it was overflowing with mirth,
with no place to put it down except with scratches on the stone.
His wealth had grown until his time had come, when, one by one,
his faculties failed, but not his worth, and he became one,
with the space he occupied, merely bone and hide.
When they excavated his little cell they found his work upon the wall.
That one mind could so enthrall amazed them one and all.
And with these scratches soon deciphered saved them from the fall.
Photo by Bruce Boullineau