Goodbye Camelot

The dream is ended
For I have lost the faith.
It crept away some time ago
While I was lost,
Patiently trying to assemble
The odd bits and pieces of logic
That lay scattered across my desk.
Strange,
No matter how I forced those pieces into line,
They failed to make a satisfying whole.
And when I finally looked up
I realized
The dream was gone.

It didn’t vanish overnight,
Even as it didn’t begin in one day.
There were even a few false prophets
Who swore it wouldn’t begin at all.
Remember them?
They were the ones who cut and ran
When they heard the shrill whine
Of the first volley of innuendo
And felt the whole craft shudder
As it was delivered across our bow.
But there were some of us
Who failed to see the writing on the wall.
Or maybe simply couldn’t read.
We snatched up the pennant from the deck,
Propped it against a sagging bulkhead
And saw the chance to build a legend.

David against Goliath, they called us.
The classic duel between scientific right
And the omnipotent, monopolistic megalith.
Small wonder that the dream was born.
And grew amid the roar of encouragement
From the masses who wished us well.
By God, even we were caught up in the moment.
For we were small enough to feel the weight
Of contribution.
A victory for one was a victory for all.
And we pulled together as a team.
Now there’s a tough tide to stem:
A dream,
Encouragement
A team;
Give me those three again
And I swear,
I’ll lick the world.

Or will I?
Because somewhere along the line
We grew in strength,
Or at least in number.
It was necessary to sustain the drive.
Suddenly there was more to do
Than hands to do the work.
And the contribution of one
Made just a bit less difference.
And the victories became a little more
Individual.
Lines were drawn inside.
And the ranks were joined by camp followers
Who had watched the battle rage
From the safety of the distant hills
And now descended
To help divide the spoils.

They were professionals
And they convinced us
That we were in the process
Of maturing.
They convinced us it was time
To abandon the crusade
And opt for a posture
Of fiscal conservatism.
They took away the pennant
And had it nicely laminated
And placed it on display.
The old warriors
They trotted out on festive occasions
To speak well-learned lines
To small crowds of eager listeners.
And later trotted them back again
Before too many spontaneous questions arose.
And made it clear
That they were in command.

And the dream began to fade.
Replaced by plans
That led to vague but quantifiable objectives;
Nicely woven mission statements
With various interpretations,
Depending on the boldness of the leader.
And the roar of encouragement from the masses
Began to dim.
And was finally replaced by the hum
Of a finely oiled machine.

I greatly miss that dream.
I think it’s time to sneak away
And see if I can catch sight of it again.
I wonder where it’s gone.