The Ancient




The Ancient


I watch
as generations

as empires

as wisdom

I’ve observed
of human folly

as they stumble
to a cold

from each other
from everything

serving the machine

perfecting violence
as they race
to ruination

aliens in eden

I see
the natural world

but still I stand
thrusting skyward

closer to heaven
than any living thing

a perpetual survivor
rooted in perpetuity

the constant sentinel

a witness to time


I watch
as generations
move forward

as civilization
painstakingly progresses

as knowledge
slowly unfolds

I’ve observed
of human endeavor

as they advance
to an extraordinary

less dependent
on conformity
on hive mentality

mastering the machine

enduring strife
as they strive
for the light

evolving beings

I see
the natural world

and still I stand
reaching skyward

closer to heaven
than any living thing

a perpetual presence
rooted in perpetuity

the constant sentinel

a witness to time

• • •

rob kistner © 2008


collage above entitled: “Time Witness” — by: rob kistner © 2008

• • •



~ by Image&VerseToo on March 13, 2008.

60 Responses to “The Ancient”

  1. Stunning. Beautiful.

  2. Both were incredible. I love coming here and reading your words….

    I liked “less dependent, on conformity , on hive mentality.”

  3. Awesome posts, both. Your words carry so much depth and meaning.

    dried piece of toast

  4. Hey Rob, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were a Libra (or Gemini.) The Sentinel watches in our wisdom and folly both, but if we find it we’ll chop it down for toothpicks, and not give it a second thought. Well, that’s my pessimism, anyway. Nicely done, and shapely, too.

  5. I think you point out perfectly that the good and the bad are intrinsically linked together. We ascend and devolve both at the same time.
    It’s that damned passion that drives us on!

  6. You write so beautifully, that I love reading it again and again..
    specially loved the images you attach to each one.

  7. Perfection.

  8. as i am in the process of working on read write poems prompt, be the tree,, it feels to me that these words could very well have been spoken by a tree… very nice piece….

  9. beautiful…

    some of these words when I read them, each of them form a different poetry.. amazing word play

  10. I like the way the two parts rub against each other and produce sparks!

  11. very nice and true!

  12. Rob,

    You’ve shown us in this impeccable piece two sides of the coins, looking at things from both sides. You’ve given us the thought that there is always that positive side of the beam, and that it is for us to choose that side to keep the balance.

    I wish you well.

    ~ Jeques

  13. Yes, the collective observer, indeed WE see all that and yet more, the tide changes along with collective thought. Grace and peace to you. ~graceladymn~

  14. …Oh the contrast, and the balance…

    Nice use of evocative language…

  15. Beautiful. You’ve expressed a contrast I’ve been trying to place words to. Brilliant.

  16. SusieJ –

    Thank you very much… 😉

  17. Rebecca –

    I’m pleased you find this enjoyable. 😉

    I believe we, as human individuals, are beginning to learn to live, accept, and befriend beyond boundaries that are national, ethnic, even generational.

    This is a slow process, not without some suffering. We still have incredibly deep tendencies and prejudices to overcome, embedded over thousand of years — but I feel we are moving carefully towards an essential oneness as a planet.

    The more calamity this planet begins to face, the more likely this coming together will advance and accelerate. It will ultimately be a good thing.

  18. Gautami –

    Thank you for your kind words… 😉

  19. Richard –

    Unfortunately, our human lot is capable of displaying less than stellar insight and sensitivity,

    I’m glad you liked this work… 😉

  20. Anthony –

    Yes, yin and yang are alive and well — manifesting their reality in everything. The final choice, as to being pessimistic or optimistic, resides solely with us as individuals.

    Personally, I live with a guarded optimism, trying not to be too surprised for whatever happens — dark or light. I firmly believe we humans are capable of extraordinary good and evil.

    I don’t hold anyone up to a mirror into which I will not also look.

  21. Prats –

    You humble me with your gracious words… I’m please you find my writing and art satisfying. It is for you that I crate.


  22. Texasblu –

    Gratitude… 😉

  23. Paisley –

    The spark for this piece came origonally from that RWP prompt.

    It proved to fit all the prompts this week to which I contribute.

    I’m pleased you like this work! 😉

  24. Rambler –

    Thank you very much for your kind words… 😉

    This piece was composed of several complete thoughts that flowed together well into a single composition.

  25. Linda –

    Thank you! 😉

    An what I’m hoping to ignite is the realization, among those who read it — there are at least two very diverse interpretations of every single event that occurs daily… perception is reality, and we each have our own.

    Truth is a very ambiguous word, the more you come to consider it.

  26. Arbokeda –

    Thank you! 😉

  27. Jeques –

    Thank you! We always have the choice to stand in the sun or the shade — the dark or the light… they are both with us always,

  28. Gracelady –

    Thank you, and peace to you as well… 😉

    It begins with our chosen perspective — we then go from there to collect the facts we need to prove our personal point. Truth is a relative thing.

  29. 1poet4man –

    It is all a question of balance… 😉

    “After he had journeyed,
    And his feet were sore,
    And he was tired,
    He came upon an orange grove
    And he rested
    And he lay in the cool,
    And while he rested, he took to himself an orange and tasted it,
    And it was good.
    And he felt the earth to his spine,
    And he asked, and he saw the tree above him, and the stars,
    And the veins in the leaf,
    And the light, and the balance.
    And he saw magnificent perfection,
    Whereon he thought of himself in balance,
    And he knew he was.”

    Moody Blues

  30. Macii –

    Thank you… 😉 I’m pleased!

  31. I think too few remember or have learned enough past to assist the future…nice post.

  32. Tumblewords –

    Thank you… if we do not learn from past mistakes, we’re prone to repeat them.
    Vietnam = Iraq 😦

  33. the post and the picture are simply a perfect match!

  34. What a wonderful post.

  35. i really enjoyed this…
    aliens in eden.


  36. Jennifer –

    Thank you… 😉

  37. Jadey –

    You are kind… 😉

  38. GkGirl –

    Thank you… 😉

    That is certainly how we act at times…

  39. I like the two perspectives in this, I often think trees could teach us so much if they could only talk

  40. Wonderfully done. There is a lot going on in this one. Many images and references to fill the mind.

  41. Juliet –

    Pleased you liked this… 😉

    Oh man, it trees could talk!! Wow!

  42. Corina –

    Thank you… 😉

    I’m pleased you were drawn in!

  43. Like an oasis in a desert of mediocrity…your ability with the language humbles me..

  44. Laurence –

    You are most kind… 😉

    It is I who am humbled, by your generous words!

  45. If only we could be less dependent on conformity, on the drone mentality. I believe it’s only the free thinking, creative individuals who can save our world. Your poem gave me a shiver of prophecy. Profound.

    BTW, I love the ‘Bladerunner’ quote in your sidebar. One of my favourite movies of all time!

  46. Interesting your use of being closer to heaven after watching (silently?) all of mans useless efforts.
    I love your use of repeated lines to highlight your images, mans downfall.
    I also love the line,”mastering the machine” for that truly is what it is in this ragged world.
    Excellent poem and use of “your prompt.


  47. closer to heaven than any living thing…it is a hope that rings true thru the ages…and yr collage/photo is a beautiful portrayal of your poem

  48. Selma –

    Thank you… 😉

    It’s only ‘outside the box’ where one has any hope of finding a new path — otherwise, you’re just bumping into walls.

    Bladerunner occupys a special place in my heart.

  49. Melanie –

    Te ‘closer to heaven’ resonates on a few levels — the primary being the fact that these ancient trees are the ‘tallest’ living things on our planet.

    This piece looks at two very opposite perspectives of humankind’s time on earth — to date… it’s a study in perspective.

    I’m pleased you liked it… 😉

  50. P.O.P. –

    Te ‘closer to heaven’ resonates on a few levels — the primary being the fact that these ancient sentinels (trees) are the ‘tallest’ living things on our planet.

    I’m glad you connected with the collage… 😉

  51. Rob – I saw you mention “Blade Runner” a couple of times on your blog. Last year, I presented this film to my Year 10 boys. At first they whinged that it had no action. Then we began discussing the ideas. Several weeks later, we were still discussing the ideas. I now teach those boys in Year 11. Now they are quite proficient comparing “Gattaca” and “Blade Runner”.

    This ramble all leads to a comment on your poem. I feel it captures the essence of the somewhat unconventional thought that perhaps negatives can inspire positives. I feel that is particularly so in “Blade Runner”.

    (Hope all that makes sense in the end!)

    Just great!


  52. I like how the poem ascends toward hope after the dispiriting visions of the first half. We need some uplifting. I agree wit the sentiments of both parts of the poem, but the second half leaves me feeling happy.

  53. wow…your blog has the most comments that i have ever seen on any blog so far! your poems are amazing…your wording and style are so clear, and i love how you have literally made one poem out of two. you paint wonderful images (tho’ they may not all be wonderful in a ‘literal’ sense’). such nice work!

  54. Amazing how they both end up at the same place!

  55. To have each one speak opposing truths that are both believable reminded me how we are influenced by words. Incredible writing, Rob.

  56. Gemma –

    Thank you… 😉

    That is fascinating and wonderful the way you are examining those two movies. I love “Blade Runner” and have every version ever released on Laser Video Disc, and on DVD — most recently, I was given the recently released “Limited Edition Box Set”. There is so much in this box set it is amazing. Highly recommend it!!

  57. MariaCristina –

    Yes, the world needs hope, and leaders who will stir this hope!

    I’m pleased you enjoyed this… 😉

  58. Jan –

    Thank you so much, you are most gracious… 😉

    I am very glad you find what I create to your liking.

  59. Linda –

    It’s all called “truth” by someone somewhere, it’s just that “truth” is hardly the whole story of anything — and if you look beyond it you will find the commonality, the essence… that is what I was trying to show with this piece. I also wanted to be a small voice to try to help wake people up the finding a balanced way of living.

  60. Marcia –

    It’s perspective and ‘packaging’. Se my response to Linda above for my take on the bigger picture.

    Thank you for the kind compliment… 😉

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