Russell Shorto

Ancient People Lived and So Do We

I have two or three things to say and would like to be allowed

Extravagance as I give myself room to breathe and children

Time to frolic and garlic air to perfume and love some wet thing

To understand as a mirror of itself for are we not all after all in

Love with the idea of reflection churning boiling like bronze

Pots in ancient lands with liquids peered into by ancient eyes

For something that takes the plate of the wide blue world

And hoists it of a sudden smack against our breasts so we feel

That rush and thunder rumble right into the echo of our blood

Pulsing little dance of spirits inside and out so we start laughing

Letting go unpacking giving up in a good way resting closing

Eyes yielding where necessary completely even absurdly

Being along and on and with and through and at and under

All we are and what you were and who it is and why this right

Now and well in the month and second and beat of blood that

Defines things should go and weather to let me cool and not

Here wait but furrow through Sundays and pot days for dancing

On ancestor shadows the rainchill recalling the value

Of soupsteam glisten in hungered faces the waiting of our living

And so much forgetting so bone-strong unbreaking the skin

All embracing and force us recalling the pop little instant

Of birth and I think how rare how fond the sky the dark my friend.


About the Author

  I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have three children (Anna, Eva and Anthony) and three step-children (Reinier, Hector and Benjamin).  I write books of narrative history; I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict. My books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards.  I am senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. My interests include the past, the present and the future, not necessarily in that order.  

photo by Keke Keukelaar