We softly cribbed the engineer's remains
in a reedy basket in the hold. The double
lenses of his broken spectacles - what bauble-
manifolded wilderness had they made plain?
Worming through the undergrowth, he was
cocooned beneath those spectral bastions -
gray limbs like elephants, the vines' festoons,
a labyrinth of parchment (lost papyrus).
And left some papers of his own. A treatise
on the laws of railroading; some blueprints
for a trestle bridge; A Ratio of Gradients
For Laying of the Track (et cetera)...
And (in silhouette between two sheets of wax)
the shadow of a Blue Morpho. Cindered,
only a remnant - two half-oval (sundered)
wings (Aurora, lanced in parallax).
There must have been a hearth somewhere
for Biddle, even he. Schooled for the line
and junction, he was mapping his emerging;
some immortal longing was that Morpho's sire
and fiery heir. There was a ring, perhaps -
immersed in jungle quicksand, so to seal
ecstatic secrets home; Earth will reveal
streams moseying beneath our serpent-maps.
A leaden box, dropped from Capella's stern,
buries the memoirs in their well-earned element;
borne below widening ripples, which cement
both shores in circles (like a swing's return).