By James R. Whitley
monumentum requiris, circumspice.
Before you were born,
as you understand that event,
you were a part of us,
the essence of you here
like a photon in a fulgent beam of light or
a charmed quark hanging coyly
in the background atmosphere,
a small yet integral component
of the sun's majesty.
And before we were
steady stalks of our legs planted
on sturdier terra firma-
there was already a bit of us here as well,
more than mere idea, but
still less than a noticeable thread
within the fuller tapestry.
Before there were
religions and sciences,
as we commonly use those terms,
there was Truth-inescapable, revered-
binding what we call the planets and galaxies
and the coruscating spectacles
we refer to as constellations
under the one umbrella of reality.
Before there were
burrows and sheds,
teepees and huts, igloos and nests,
castles and skyscrapers,
there was home and shelter, and
we were part of this larger structure.
And what we now refer
to as the universe,
the sum total of reality, was there,
inhaling and exhaling gently-
its something like a heart pulsing
faithfully at its core,
its something like a body unfurling,
a complex blossoming-
and the silken strands of every
necessary plot line shooting out and away,
across the vastness,
linking everything in its splendor,
before everything was anything,
before anything could be categorized.
And even now that
whoever we think we are,
now that you are whoever
you believe yourself to be,
this brilliant drama is still unfolding,
the one grand story
is still being written.
The Latin phrase at the beginning is the inscription on St. Paul's Cathedral
in London, composed by the son of Christopher Wren, the building's architect.
The phrase translates roughly as "If you wish to see his monument,