A Walk in the Dark
Darkness has fallen about me
trees like the shadowy columns
of an underground city.
The depression in leaves I think
a path collects a shallow
luminousness that wets my feet
with uncertain mistaken direction
Suddenly a light shaft into my eye
seems the horizontal ray of a star.
Its stark white point in piercing
my heart releases the feel returning.
I wonder at its source, its origin—
so opposite this black damp night
now flooding the village below me.
Emerging from the river park
I hesitate on this rocky ridge
above the stream as if overlooking
a lost world. My longtime home
is ephemeral. I receive this icy
lancing as a beam from outside time—
a suspended spiritual existence
independent of its source—as if
a ray left from first creation.
I see that it is sent by a single
porch bulb through clear, immaterial
one moment’s glimpse of absolute light.
very like a whale
Whither this weather these clouds
crowding on, following the curve
of air around the world? From almost
imaginary horizons, nearer-farther
flat-bottomed, blue-toned, they sit
thermoclines of the upper ocean. Billowing
Camelot castles or weaving
ineffable whales, sliding-unraveling
they appear as if here, while arising elsewhere,
updrafts of the Earth’s collective slumber.
They seem serene in storms, ramparts
from which Zeus imparts the shocking bolts—
flickering apparitions in almost-real horizons
in blue mood-themes that suddenly whiten.
They avow transcendence, trailing skeins
of crystal-beaded rain, from under-domes
blue-blackened until cracked by the long spark
whereby the atmosphere reconciles its wish
for pure transparence with the heavy water
that falls in solid walls and encloses
monsooning in dark fits of turblulence
and gurgling the gutters. The wings of clouds
take form from our wishing, wiping clean
the soiled mind, the brooding forehead turned
earthward in August. They father and mother
our dreams of moisture, impinging in sleep
upon the distant houses of childhood
making us praise in waking mumbles these
leaky roofs of memory, whereby rain
can come through barriers of tin or shingle
wetting us again in bed but so that we
arise in dry pajamas, grownups who
go out bare-headed and greet the shining day.