as when emotion too far exceeds its cause
A field of unreflecting things
Time is passing by: inert,
Anonymous beyond recall, the deflected
Objects of a self-regarding gaze
Untouched by the anxieties of proximity or love.
I tried to find those passions in the sky,
In moments when the heart surveys itself
As if from above, and wonders at the
Sight of something so particular and small.
A day brings language and a hint of what it means,
Of some presence waiting in the wings
Beyond the stage, beyond the words that
Gathered in the night and stayed
And through whose grace I find, if not quite
What I wanted, then everything else:
The contentment of each morning's
Exercise in freedom, freedom like a wall
Enclosing my heart; the disjunctive thoughts
Gesturing at some half-imagined whole;
A continuity that on the surface feels like love.
What is this thing that feels at once so nebulous
And so complete, living from day to day
Unmindful of itself, oblivious of the future
And the past, hovering like a judgment
Above the future, the present, and the past,
Floating in the distance like the eyes of love?
Call it "experience"-- that term of art
For time in an inhuman world
Indifferent to desire, the history
Of one who one day wandered off from home
Along a road that led from here to here:
These sidewalks and these houses, city streets
Through fields and quiet streams, uncharted
Trails descending to a farmhouse in a glen and
Nothing in my heart or in the sky above my heart.
And then from somewhere in that wilderness inside
I hear the murmur of a low, transforming tone
That fills the field of sight with feeling,
And that makes of blind experience a kind of love.
Let me stay there for a while, while evening
Gathers in the sky and daylight lingers on the hills.
There's something in the air, something I can't quite see,
Hiding behind this stock of images, this language
Culled from all the poems I've ever loved.
I don't believe a word they say, a word I say,
But it isn't really a matter of belief:
As ordinary things make up the world,
So life is purchased with the common coin of feeling,
Feelings deferred, that flower for a day
And then retreat into the language. And later,
When the hours they'd filled are summoned by name,
It's as if they'd never been, as if that tangible
Release could never come to me again.
I came here for the view, and what is there to see?
The place is still a place in progress
And the days have the feeling of friction, of pages
Blank with anticipation, biding their time,
And ever approaching the chapter in the story
Where it ends, and my heart is waiting.
Labels: john koethe, poetry