An Invisible Crack - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
....and when it slipped out of my fingers,
it landed on the tiles.
A vase from Alexandria,
a Pharaoh who smiles.
An ancient piece, a modern treasure,
my pride from Egypt's culture lingers,
with Western ways now side by side.
The curator had said, a measure
of real value, if applied
be without meaning here, to guide
the experts in exotic matters.
'Bang' it had fallen, omigod,
I fell right with it now to see,
examined it and found it odd
that undisturbed it seemed to be.
The more I turned it to inspect
the smallest areas of the vase,
to spot the tiniest defect,
the more I felt that Oh's and Ah's
were applicable in this matter.
Perfection had survived the fall
where I'd expected it to shatter
in thousand pieces, after all,
fragility does have its logic.
No harm had come to Pharaohs,
the smiling of Cleopatra.
One last time now I looked so close,
discovered that it had so far
withstood all ravages of time.
But, ever since that fateful day,
when nothing broke and nothing cracked,
I hesitate, but have to say,
that what my eyesight clearly lacked
is to discern what I now may
reveal: elusive, hidden shame.
The figures never smiled the same.
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