The Effulgent Ballad

June 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

The night before
we parted ways,
I lay on my side
the world singing soft carols,
a luminous and constant hymn.
Or maybe it was just you.
A glowing beacon stands
tall and fir green,
growing out of the mahogany wood beneath.
It wouldn’t belong at another time or place,
like we don’t belong in this sweeping valley
engulfed in a veil of night.
But of course it’s here,
and so are we.
Your voice, still pressed to my damp ear,
comes in choppy blurs,
like over a short wave radio.
It breaks and breaks and breaks–
the lights are everywhere,
but especially in the memories of you, or us?
They come in scorching rays. Bright blissful rays
that hurt. We don’t belong,
but here we are.
My eyelids fall in a watery glaze
that convolutes the shining scene
and with each blink the light bends
and the fiery kaleidoscope of reds and golds
morphs. First a mournful face,
then a spinning carousel,
a pulsing, burning, beaming, starburst,
a lonely sailboat in an aqueous field.
The scent of luminosity; of pine.
The lights hanging and crossing make your voice
a dizzying spell.
It chants, radiating
words that fall and hurt
and break. The mournful face tries to smile
and wish the world goodnight.
“Listen,” you say.
But the light is all I hear.

from Sun Dance 2012

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