01 August 2009

August Poem of the Month

This is the second section of the poem I posted last month. I hope that a few more sections are forthcoming.


Up a dried-out river bed, along an almost panoramic ridge,
sudden burst of rain and hail. Temperatures turned.
And rounding a turn, the cone loomed bare: doom in the very rocks.
Nothing else so sheer, nothing so spare
with no trip to spare, no mercy between a slip and the air.
A crumbling peak was the only material reality against the intolerable sky.
A force of will the only wall against the mental fall.
Every step of my foot took one more foot of its steppes.
Whatever the body does, does something to the soul.
The enormous pressure of the empty space behind
nearly broke my little mind.
I panted to hold the panic back,
thought by not thinking, progressed by repression
and ignorance.
And I can see my body arc, out, curved like the rainbow through which it falls,
glorious in suspension. A waterfall of raven hair against the clouds, the color
of flesh in contrast to the Irish green and blue, a masterpiece
and a disaster. The crash of bones on distant stones, the spatter of blood
in penitence for insuccess. Whatever the body does…

But it did not. The mind must be enormous, to enclose in one ignored corner
such a massive swathe of space, undusted. If I can pack
a sidereal fear and my idea
of the entire size of the universe,
not ending with the atmosphere, on past planets, out past galaxies,
(all pressing, more than the heaviest pack, on my unstopping back)
into some tiny corner of my mind and hide it there
(just a nagging, unacknowledged noise: a dust feather in a draft),
then how huge is my mind!
Whatever the psyche does….

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