Saturday, January 15, 2011

Consolation Pantoum

1/1/11

Recall the way the peach light felt
On your face as you exited through the metal doors
That clamping lock is not a permanent closing-
You will have more chances.

On your face as you exited through metal doors,
The surprise of the sweet sunset reminded that
You will have more chances
For success in life.

The surprise of the sweet sunset reminded you that
Beauty descends like the aftermist of rain,
For success in life
Is strongest when you stand still and watch.

And beauty descends like the after-mist of rain,
Like the flocks of little black birds landing on the treetops to roost for the night, and their song
Is strongest when you stand still and listen.
You were in the right place at the right time because you witnessed it:

The flocks of little black birds landing on the treetops to roost for the night, their song
Reflected in the undulating being of group flight-
You were in the right place at the right time because you witnessed it.
You stood and watched and felt and breathed and listened;

Reflected in the undulating being of group flight,
You stopped to partake.
You stood and watched and felt and breathed and listened,
So you didn't lose out after all.

Because you stopped to partake-
Even though the moment before you had passed through doors of defeat-
You didn't lose out after all.
You knew you were where you should be and you stayed,

Even though the moment before you had passed through doors of defeat--
That clamping lock is not a permanent closing.
You knew you were where you should be and you stayed:
Recall the way the peach light felt...


About this poem: It was the end of the work day at the library. I had just discovered that I had missed an important work opportunity, something that I need very much. I cried. The sun had just set on the drizzly last day of 2010. Dejected, I pushed through the doors of the staff exit on Hyde Street, and I was engulfed by an extraordinary pinkish colored energy. The dusk was saturating the water molecules suspended in the air, seemingly activated by the the glow of the sunset and ricocheting off the tall cream-colored wall across the street. More than simply seeing, it was as if I had stepped into a specific medium, an atmosphere of a unique substance. I crossed over into the plaza and turned about to see the sunset. I had the immense luck to see the swarms of small black birds that roost in the dense trees lining the library along Hyde and Grove Streets; for three years I had listened to their dense culminating song at sunset, but I had never seen them. They were in flocks that seemed to launch in turn from nearby bare trees, swirling in in liquid synchronized patterns like great amoebic organisms awash in unseen currents in the sky, and then alight on the trees. Their nightly ritual signalled by the great clock of this solar system. I stood entranced, absorbing it. The next morning I wrote this poem in appreciation of the healing effect that it had, and nearly three weeks later this has not at all subsided. I won't forget it because it is a permanent part of me, fortifying and reminding me of what and where I am: a being on the earth.

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