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Paradox of Civilization

In Jordan’s desert, a building façade has been carved into the face of a vertical cliff. Stairs leading to the structure are lined with lanterns. Looking up, a view standing right of center, stone appears orange near the base fading to black at its top. Where cliff’s edge meets the night sky, darkness brightens into starlight. While appearing more ancient, this façade has features of Roman architecture: columns, shallow gables atop flat roofs, carved figures decorating idle spaces. It has two stories. It’s first has six columns. Two are set back from the entrance that is supported by four beneath a gable. Two horses are carved on wall between first and second column, two more are carved between fourth and sixth column. Inside a portico behind the center four columns, steps lead up to a tall entrance, black, an opening to a large chamber inside the rock. The second story, as wide as first, has a block cut from its center. At each side are half gables, supported by two columns. Statues are carved beneath each gable. Between these gables is a turret supported with columns. A statue of a human figure stands within the turret. The grand scale of the western façade should be alien in the Jordanian desert. It should be, but is not. If taken from the rock and perfectly constructed in Washington D.C., with a coat of white paint, it would not look out of place. A fusion of West and East, this place begs questions about the people who carved it, political and religious beliefs of their civilization, its purpose in a desert, and how it could be ahead of its time.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2015




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Date: 3/2/2015 6:04:00 PM
Isn't the middle east the cradle of civilzation? why should it be alien? isn't the greater question, why we should think it alien.humanity tends to think of history as a straight line, what if it wasn't?didn't they just find a place in Turkey called Gobekli Tepe, buried for over 14,000 years....my first thoughts after reading your poem...welcome to poetrysoup.
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Date: 3/9/2015 3:13:00 PM
Is the Western Occident your idea of civilization's beginnings? "This place begs questions," is a key phrase for this poem. Your questions are all good. Something to consider about your suggestion of time not being linear is how Caribbean literature experiments with circularity. An excellent example is a novel by Pauline Melville titled The Ventriloquist's Tale. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Date: 2/3/2015 5:11:00 PM
You have many ideas that make the mind ponder over, this work is well thought out and has very powerful imagery, I've enjoyed reading it and through it's words learning more about it's creator, I'm glad to meet you fellow writer, and I will come back to learn even more, take care of yourself great read, cheri
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Date: 2/10/2015 5:40:00 PM
Thank you very much. To have someone read is good, to have somebody think about what is written is great.