Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fleeing Before Me Becomes Journey

One More Tweak

OK, so on June 8 I wrote that I was finally pleased with Fleeing Before Me. I still am, but the poem is called Journey now. And I've changed it a little bit more. And, maybe blogging about my feelings about the poem and posting its stages of evolution is excessive. But once I begin learning my poems, reciting them as I walk, they change. They seem to improve.

Coming up with a "final" version and then still another and another may be somewhat problematic, but it's also a process in which I develop new enthusiasm for my poems. It's the antidote for any embarrassment I might feel about what I've written. In the process, I have my own "aha" moments, new clarity about what I've been trying to say, new insight about how to say it, a sudden connect to a word that works.

I'm getting very close to where I want to be with this. I have it half memorized, and that half isn't changing much. Now I have to ease into the rest--then it's on to Bus Boys and Poets. Or, perhaps, another venue.


Here am I
in this unbounded place,
a point in passing,
a bridge between times,
through darkness across voids
around the great signal fires.

It takes an effort of will
to catch what I’d missed,
to see we in that space
took wing,
to hear small birds with
perfect pitch and
immaculate messages
to conjure a thing so close
god’s eyes cross with
recall and effort,
cross with wonder and unselfconscious
neglect for appearances.

The path goes far beyond the end
of innocence and divides in the next space.
The trail has gone this way,
into the future,
precisely the path I follow now
with music by birdsong,
if I should choose to listen, and
lit by brilliant flowers, if I should choose to hear.

I stop at the odd firepit.
Step carefully around the scattered
bones. Toeing, then picking at them,
the old bones near dust. What beasts were these?
Something immense, I’m sure.
Something fierce, I wonder.
How does a place become
so empty?

What has been driven before me?
A sudden thought;
what lurks behind?
A memory, perhaps. Of us.
What also wanders here?
Midst birdsong and flowers,
Who will find whom?
This hunt nearly consumes me.

Gathering a bouquet of thoughts,
I consider fragrance, balance of color,
length of stem, the flowering cup.

With fresh effort,
I hear small birds
possessing perfect pitch,
singing immaculate messages.

Leaving reason behind,
the supreme, last seen, seemed adrift,
Remote, flickered out in the distance,
just this side of the horizon line

The not known has gone this way,
into the future and
I am following,
backed with music by birdsong,
my way lit by scattered
combustible bushes.

Tiring, I stop at the next firepit.
Step carefully around the scattered
bones. Toeing, then picking at them—
the old bones stir. What beasts are these?
Something immense, I see.
And without name.
Abiding. This human
slips by.

Thoughts rolling like sea glass.
What has fled before me?
Who wanders just ahead?
With what purpose?
With eyes failing like mine?
With strain in the effort
of looking?

Who will find whom
around birdsong and flowers
and gathering bones of resurrecting beasts?
What happens then?
Who will continue this hunt?
The next thought consumes me.

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