The Wheels of Progress

When ground to standstill, mired, besmirched,
their cog-end mesh begun to rust,
the wheels of progress can but lurch.
Their motion barely moves the dust;

and each gear’s inch assaults the ear
with tortured squeaks and sudden stalls.
Behind all effort lies the fear
of a collapse. Beyond the walls

that seem now solid, storm clouds build,
and in their grey depths store the seeds
of new despair, and drain the will
that seeks out hope, and guarantees.

The great machine we all assume
needs only maintenance to sustain
prosperity — is it now doomed,
its circuits blown under the strain

of finding crisis hidden where
in some illusion, we once thought
ourselves immune, and without care
protected by the things we bought?

The factory that once supplied
in part and parcel, our defense,
lies now in ruin, paralyzed,
struck dumb by an experience.

03 OCT 2005

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