circles keep circling
Almost anything can happen.
This is where you find
the creation of light, a fish wriggling onto land,
the first word of Paradise Lost on an empty page.
Think of an egg, the letter A,
a woman ironing on a bare stage
as the heavy curtain rises.
This is the very beginning.
The first-person narrator introduces himself,
tells us about his lineage.
The mezzo-soprano stands in the wings.
Here the climbers are studying a map
or pulling on their long woolen socks.
This is early on, years before the Ark, dawn.
The profile of an animal is being smeared
on the wall of a cave,
and you have not yet learned to crawl.
This is the opening, the gambit,
a pawn moving forward an inch.
This is your first night with her,
your first night without her.
This is the first part
where the wheels begin to turn,
where the elevator begins its ascent,
before the doors lurch apart.
Things have had time to get complicated,
messy, really. Nothing is simple anymore.
Cities have sprouted up along the rivers
teeming with people at cross-purposes—
a million schemes, a million wild looks.
Disappointment unshoulders his knapsack
here and pitches his ragged tent.
This is the sticky part where the plot congeals,
where the action suddenly reverses
or swerves off in an outrageous direction.
Here the narrator devotes a long paragraph
to why Miriam does not want Edward’s child.
Someone hides a letter under a pillow.
Here the aria rises to a pitch,
a song of betrayal, salted with revenge.
And the climbing party is stuck on a ledge
halfway up the mountain.
This is the bridge, the painful modulation.
This is the thick of things.
So much is crowded into the middle—
the guitars of Spain, piles of ripe avocados,
Russian uniforms, noisy parties,
lakeside kisses, arguments heard through a wall—
too much to name, too much to think about.
the car running out of road,
the river losing its name in an ocean,
the long nose of the photographed horse
touching the white electronic line.
This is the colophon, the last elephant in the parade,
the empty wheelchair,
and pigeons floating down in the evening.
Here the stage is littered with bodies,
the narrator leads the characters to their cells,
and the climbers are in their graves.
It is me hitting the period
and you closing the book.
It is Sylvia Plath in the kitchen
and St. Clement with an anchor around his neck.
This is the final bit
thinning away to nothing.
This is the end, according to Aristotle,
what we have all been waiting for,
what everything comes down to,
the destination we cannot help imagining,
a streak of light in the sky,
a hat on a peg, and outside the cabin, falling leaves.
Aristotle by Billy Collins
into the sun,
seeing not only
my reflected face
but the great sky
my lonely figure
and after a moment
I lifted my hands
and then my eyes
by the great
calling to me
in one moment
both calling to me
from where I stood,
as if I could
I had been given
taken from me
as if I could be
I have learned
I could know,
as if I knew
in that moment
both the way
I had come
I was still
promised to go,
and the symmetry
of the moving sky,
caught in still waters.
I have been,
I am just,
about to become,
something I am
and will be forever,
the sheer generosity
of being loved
the miracle reflection
of a twice blessed life.
Twice Blessed by David Whyte
From Work in Progress
I keep walking
always into surprises
always into adventures
today an unexpected ‘wow’ on the path
love always wins,
though the windmills of God
do grind slowly, for sure!
grace always changes us
I keep seeing it
reflecting back at me
from eyes I meet in every place
I let go into the the flow
the mystery keeps expanding
this thing, love, is truly the only thing
that could possibly change this world….