Crossing the Light
Our near neighbours, the dead, shimmer beyond the fence line.
Suspended in air, why do they care for our silly antics?
Shouldn’t they be headed toward the light? Are they caught
by our yearning, pulled on the taut line of longing that holds
us to them? Memory, nothing but memories project out, project
beyond those viscous realms we can barely fathom.
Ancestors surround us, bemused. The space between us
looms like nothing, invisible fullness of spirit. Nothing
looms. Just about perfect. Almost right. Taken for granted.
Symmetries of either sphere don’t merge nor mesh.
The life to come is already here when time dissipates.
Mysteries of multiplicity displaced again shift shape.
The abstract dead regard our fears. They watch our coming
and goings-on. With a t/rope they could steer us along ways
less problematic. But then the word isn’t heard without an ear
and memory of mouth to utter. Utter confusion. Utter awe.
Shock sneaks a gap between event and reaction.
Animation suspended. Adrenaline overload. A zone
slowed down to zero and beyond. Cross at the corner
with the light or be accosted by cross border guards.
In and out of time, visitors file by, see-through poem in hand.
Wait for them. Send for them. You might wait a while.
Messages to the missing are seldom reported lost.
The dead collect, fan out with last
leaves’ fall. Not content to lie
mouldering in snow-softened grave
they hover mid air, mid-dimension, mid
dream. Their visiting hours limited to
the wee hours when all is possible
though nothing can be clearly seen.
They speak when spoken to just like
the good children they were raised
to be, but sound won’t carry across
the divide. Their mouths open and
close. Open and close. Great gulfs
of uninterrupted, uninterpreted anguish.
Nobody can lip read over here. Words
land on the sea, rest a second on that flat
flaccid surface and almost dissolve.
Snow falls, flake by flake. The dead descend
in tiny white shrouds, as in that last scene
from Joyce’s short story, John Huston’s film.
They linger alive for another moment of
morning and melt. Left mourning, I scry
between between words and worlds.
Reeled in by whatever realm entices.
Pale sun on snow
pulls me from the poem
to the window, lights
a shaft of reeling
crystals split to rainbow
in the glint and dull again
at instant cloud cover.
Indoor plants lean toward
the west, yearn for more.
Or. Less. Then. When.
The thermometer hovers at zero,
that zone where elements merge
confused, uncertain, in-between.
Tears course down the pane.
Beyond outer reaches of thought,
the land is luminous
The Parliamentary Poet Laureate Poem of the Week