The Visionaries

by Alistair Halden


I will write you a song of the visionaries.
The accompaniment should be played on
Ethereal harp and triumphal trumpet.
I will sing of the terrible death of the Baptist
And of Jeremy's fight against his own despair
The sanctity of those who chose
To live in strict communities and learn
The discipline of prayer
(in Plainsong).
I will sing of Plato's mind which soared
Above men's limited expectances.
And of curious people on the Mount
Who heard with their own ears
And whose hearts for a moment soared on eagle's wings.
(We'll have a solo treble here,
One who can take us
Higher than we ever dreamed.)
I will sing of Leonardo's flying machine.
Of men, women and children
Who died for a vision
(Of whom the world was not worthy).
I will sing of those who ran little missions
In unsalubrious places.
Finally, I will sing
Of a Scottish farmer who was not joking
When he wrote of the brotherhood of man
(One solo plaintive piper on a hillside
Half a mile away -
The melancholy sound carried limpid
Through the thin mountain air).