If I had been a sailor, stranded, night after night on the open water,
with nothing between me and the emptiness undisturbed
but the membrane of my body, perhaps it would be understandable,
because I was just a boy, it, was just chaos.
Sometimes there would be fire, bank upon burning bank.
Sometimes there would be sorrow.
It was an island where it was always dark,
except when the light was blinding.
Just trying to make sense of the unfolding chaos,
to feel the weight in words, the density of shadow.
to hear the sound of paradise,
where surprise turns to revelation,
before it’s gone, along with all that was just here,
Holly Lofgreen said:
I feel the loneliness and emptiness of the expanse. I love “the membrane of my body”–the phrase enhancing this solitary emptiness, and the idea it conjures of exposure to the elements.
“where it was always dark, except when the light was blinding.” This speaks so much, of solitude, and days upon days of thoughts driving you crazy (the true ‘chaos’?). This is close to nightmare….
A resumption of order, a reconciling of parity and disparity, beauty and ugliness, highs and lows, self and ‘out there’….
I really love “to feel the weight in words, the density of shadow” for its striving (the weight in words) and its paradox (the “density” of shadow, which is nothing more than illusion)…..Calls to mind just now….Plato’s allegory of the Cave. Were we to escape, would we continue to struggle? I can’t imagine a world without struggle, or a life without one. Is that something even worth wanting itself?….I feel a vortex coming on………
And then to hear the “sound of paradise”….elusive and unimaginable, beyond comprehension, maybe even altogether weirder than we imagine. That makes me think of a quote by a physicist (was it Feynman?) who said, “The Universe is not only weirder than we imagine, it’s weirder than we CAN imagine”.
Yet, there’s hope: Paradise is where “surprise turns to revelation”. But of course, it’s fleeting as poetry–where the next moment, empty as it is, is all that we possess. The final line, with it’s comma for an ending, is golden.
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Ronald E. Shields said:
Thank you Holly, I have never ended a poem like that before. I am happy you think it works, it still makes me a little queasy. It started as a cut and paste error, but I liked it well enough to keep.
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