Monday, June 8, 2009

Fleeing Before Me

A revision I can live with

As, I've mentioned before, I really like this poem, but I've never been happy with it. Yesterday, it occurred to me that the mood I've been trying to create here owes a lot to images inspired by Samuel R. Delaney's novel, Dahlgren. After having that thought, I revised the poem, again. It doesn't take a lot of alterations to dramatically change a poem. This one is maybe my longest, a bit over 300 words, probably. I changed about 10 words, some of the spacing and, of a sudden, it felt different to me. I don't know how long the feeling will last, but I'm a lot happier with the poem now.

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 catchwhat 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
the supreme’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 and
lit by brilliant flowers.

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,
count petals, sing at the silence.

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,
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’m sure.
And very old, I imagine.
Hungry, I go.
When will this place
become full again?

Picking through the gathering thoughts.
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 scattered bones of long-gone beasts?
What happens then?
Who will pursue this hunt?
The next thought consumes me.

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