They are the triumphant ones. The ones whose eyes are lifted perpetually Heavenward. They gleam, but not with adoration. No Hosannas pass the upturned corners of their lips. They do not plead, bargain or beg. They stand with chests puffed and legs planted wide. The stance of conquerors. The stance of men self-sure of their ability, sure because they never lose. And having never lost, they have never had the need for humility, never sought the refuge of a god whose inscrutable ways make the cruel deal of fate a little more bearable.
These are men who’ve lost to time. Captured at the precise moment their victory seemed most assured and frozen in their celebratory stance of triumph. These are men who have been usurped, their crowning victories turned into a plaster facade, to be japed at by passersby.
They are the ones locked in perpetual battle with the most deadly enemy of all: eternity. Their moment has passed, but they cannot cede the ground. For they are all stone and steel and stucco. Men made hollow by victories whose sheen has long since tarnished and men made hollow in substance.
Yes, these are statues. Monuments to past greatness, a reminder to the denizens of the present of the great deeds of the past. But mausoleums too, for the spirits of men reveling in the achievements of the past. The greatest height of their passion received coldly by an audience that cannot understand. That does not want to understand, for it has undergone genesis and evolved, cast off the stains of its past sins.
And so the conquerors are defeated. Not just defeated, but humiliated. Utterly and completely. They are ripped bodily from the pedestals upon which they’ve been placed and cast literally into the shadows, where their shame melts into the twilight that forever tinges the cavernous warehouses in which they’ve been entombed.
But no restful spirits these. Not men to go down without a fight. And this is the fatal tactical error made by the denizens of the present: in their haste to tear down and relegate the past to the past, they have overlooked its wisdom. They have forgotten that these were men bred to be indefatigable, men placed for a century in the public square in celebration of their indefatigability. Having bid their time this long, they will not go down without some final stand.