Saturday, April 23, 2005

Slow Dancers in an Empty Room

In the silence when the
echoing tread of giants
finally fades, when the
stormblast has done its
worst, will we speak of
these things we've seen,
these awesome ordeals
faced and dissolved,
or will our tongues grow
thick and bloated, cleaving
to the dried roofs of our
mouths like curing cement?

In the clearness and possibility
of a spring morning, can we
find some way to leave these
giant steps behind and move
on legs only long enough to
reach the earth?

Bereft of that flashing might
and mettle, can we rise from
our long sleep and continue
on as only human, yoked with
frailty and indecision?

I stare at the blankness of the
day, and the day before, those
laurel wreathes of accomplishments
past turned hard and thorny
beneath me, all that came before
turned into nothing.

Weaker, uncertain, half-wishing
that there was no one to see if
I sat down and went no further,
I put my shoulder to the stone
and press...press until there is
burning in the backbones and
sickness in the guts.

Stars and brighter heavens
pinwheel above me, trading
places like slow dancers in
an empty room.

When I sag to the earth and
all energy is expended, will
I have moved the stone forward,
or will all my labor go for naught,
only the flailing against fate that
caught fish do on the deck as
the ship of dreams cuts further,
stranger waters on its trip to
the morning oceans of finality?

3 comments:

Braleigh said...

"Stars and brighter heavens
pinwheel above me, trading
places like slow dancers in
an empty room."

There's something about that which greatly impacts me, but I can't pinpoint it...it's just amazing.

The horse appears to remain quite robust, if I may say so.

Firehawk said...

Braleigh,

The horse will make it another mile or two, I suppose. I wasn't sure if I had anything to say when I sat down to right that last one, but it turns out that I did.

I'm really glad that my words affected you in some way, even if it's intangible.

Stranger Ken said...

Although I pretty much subscribe to your general philosophical position in this piece, what I really found exciting, as with others of your poems, is the tremendous pent-up power of the language. You really wind the springs up tight and that quality comes through all the time!

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