This poem came out of the February 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl. It was sponsored by Shirley & Anthony Barrette. It was inspired by a prompt from ellenmillion with a quote from a Torn World story:
Something using the far-finder mentioned in "Darkening Skies."
“I wish we had one of the far-finders they've got at Irelir,” Kireg said longingly. Birka had seen the item in question once, and had carefully looked through the glass lenses at the moon to see the ridges and craters that she could barely make out now in huge, unexpected clarity with her other age-mates. It was a treasure passed down from the ancients, carefully remade in ivory and wood when the original metal stays had succumbed to rust and wear.
-- a Torn World poem
The far-finder is a fine tool,
its lenses ground from good glass
wrapped in warm wood and ivory,
our opportunity to look through owl eyes.
We see the world that we know
and inherited from our Ancient ancestors.
The view this vision gives us is very dear:
we see sights in the soft dim shade of night,
stars and moons made manifest and near,
their faces familiar to our forefathers too.
Only an owl's eyes open wide enough
to pounce on prey that others can't perceive.
Our minds must make sense of this vision
and help our poor human hands
to shape the shadows of our lives and show
that this, today, is as good as that was then.
Before the world broke, before we were
sundered, scattered in a shattered land
the stars stole across sky's floor and still
dance now as they danced then, diamond-bright.
The glass eyes of owls give us enough to go on,
but we wonder as we watch the the waning moons
what other eyes or organs the Ancients owned
and why, with what overwhelming might we hardly guess,
they cared so little for what they kept that they could not
save it from some subtle, terrible fate that left us
only a few fragile fragments of their finery.