Ballad of the Logos

by Tim Hawkins

(or A Fragment of Heraclitus)
Young Heraclitus stood hip-deep
in the roiling, raucous mountain-born stream
rushing seaward across the Ephesian plain.
As he filled a leather drinking flask
and mopped his dust and sweat-stained brow
in the cold, fulfilling promise of water
he noted the varied course it chose
on its annual journey out to sea
from hidden spring across the arid plain.
In the fading light, as the shadows fell,
when he knew he should be making camp,
a lynx crept down from out of the brush
on silent haunches, watchful as it drank.
He stood until the lynx had gone
and the evening birds resumed their song
from out of the violet western sky,
while a mad aroma arose on the breeze
of evening blooming, spring and moon-fed blossoms.
He stood transfixed, made careful note
of every feature of this sacred spot
and vowed to bathe here again the coming spring.
But he never found his way again
to refresh his mind and his aching limbs—
a year’s hard rains transformed the river’s path.
And all the while, in a state of flux                                           
his heart had chosen its own varied course
and broke on the shore of a vast blue sea
called Permanence.