The Visitation of a Bright Thing
It is morning again. He descends from silence
Into the tame blue of a sky that frames him
In a world he seems to have chosen, dreamt
Even before language dismantled it into
Recognizable parts: a drift of clouds,
Villages, pavements, stones. His concern
Is how to render the view anew, to speak
Without a predecessor, to sculpt the air into
A mountain only he can see, the map lost
In the mind so no one can repeat the same
Words again. What he is trying to achieve
Is not merely a poem but an awareness,
A fecundity of thought, the body made
To divine hidden waters. He begins to sense
Something changing in the atmosphere,
The weather or his perception of it.
The shadows collapse at different angles.
Something that has weight gathers brilliance---
But from a distance, his vision blurring
Trying to behold it. This is how far he is
Allowed to come close to the mystery.
He must learn to love and write about
Things instead because the visible
Is what has been given to him entirely
Without risk. He enters his house, the sky
Losing another reference point anchoring it
To the landscape. He approaches his desk,
Takes his pen, struggles with the first word.
His ear picks the sound of a key turning the lock.
His mother comes in with bread, milk, slices
Of meat gathered in her arms. She could be
The bright thing that has taken him by surprise.
Montage Vol. 10 • December 2006