First Notes From One Born and Living in an Abandoned Barn
Every dusty bar and narrow streak of brilliance
Originating from white slits and roof crevices
Or streaming to the floor all day in one solid column
From the opening directly overhead
Are only light.
The rising tatter of weed ticks under the door
And the quick unseen banging of shingles above
Are named the sudden and the unexpected.
Silence is understood to be the straw-flecked
Morasses of webs consistently filling the corners
With a still grey filigree of dirt, and meditation
Is called orb weaver and funnel spider tugging
At their ropes, working and stitching
With the synchronization of their flexible nails.
The farthest limits to which the eyes can see —
The rotten board walls and the high wind-stopped
Eaves—are the boundaries the mind clearly recognizes
As the farthest edges of itself, and the steel-blue forks
Of the swallows bumping and tapping along the ledges
Of the rafters all afternoon define again
The barriers of the acknowledged. Realization
Is simply the traceable expansion gradually filling
All the spaces known as barn.
And at night the point at which the slow downward swoop
Of the bat first begins its new angle upward is called
Proof of the power of the body's boundaries.
And what it is believed the snake experiences as it slides
The line of its belly along the thigh
Is thigh. The length of the arm is nothing more
Than the length the mouse crawls before its feet
Are felt no more. And what it is imagined the owl sees
As it stares from the eaves directly into the eyes
Of the one it perceives is called identity.
What appears in the opening of the roof at night
Is only what the barn envelopes and holds.
What the mind envelopes and holds in the opening
Of the roof is called the beyond.
And the beyond is either the definition of disappearance
Discovered by the bats, or else it is the rectangular
Body of stars defining the place of the roof, or else
It is the black opening looking down on the starlit
Rectangle creating the eyes, or else it is the entire
Inner surface of the face composed of stars, or else
It is the first lucky guess of the mind at the boundless
Which is exactly what has caused the need to begin tonight
The documented expansion inherent to these notes.
Song of the World Becoming
new and collected poems 1981-2001