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Eternity

By Neil McKinnon

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eternidad

 

Away in the north there is a rock.

It is a thousand miles wide

and a thousand miles long.

It stands a thousand miles tall.

Once every thousand years a small bird

comes to sharpen its beak.

When the rock has thus been worn away,

one day of eternity has passed.

Far to the south there is a lake.

It is a thousand miles wide

and a thousand miles long.

Its depth is a thousand fathoms.

Once every thousand years a small bird

comes to drink.

When the lake has thus been emptied,

one day of eternity has passed.

Away in the west there is a desert.

It is a thousand miles wide

and a thousand miles long.

Its sands a thousand miles deep.

Once every thousand years a small bird

brings a seed.

When the desert is thus a garden,

one day of eternity has passed.

Far to the east there is a forest.

It is a thousand miles wide

and a thousand miles long.

Each acre bears a thousand trees.

Once every thousand years a small bird

comes to nest.

When each tree has thus been shelter,

one day of eternity has passed.

Nearby a small bird gasps,

its song grows faint.

When it has thus been silenced,

all of eternity has passed.

(Inspired by a phrase in The Story of Mankind by Hendrik van Loon who used the analogy of a bird wearing a rock away, by sharpening its beak, to describe the passage of a long period of time.)

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