Fire made the place, they say; a sign tells
Of rivers where rock coursed
Violently, glowing with insanity, the earth’s raging,
Then a cold skin formed, a mask to the world,
Stitched up the cataract, turned it aside
Till it poured itself away,
Air and cool went in and did their work, left
A barren throat, yawning out of the earth,
A place for bats and tongues of mossy shade.
Desert furnaces stood in the way, that and ghosts;
Acquaintances forgotten, or reformed but never the same,
Dips in the fraught mesh of time, all obstacles,
The crossing: intense, fatiguing, the winds
Scouring the hot little cabin, the dig
Of an ill-fitting seat belt in the neck, bad sleep,
Stories told and lost in the drone of the road,
Mile by mile, stitch by stitch, a pair of socks is born,
Reading, almonds, breakfast leftovers,
Inwardly, future plans and worries, dry ruminations,
Outside, the sun, urgent, interrogating the world.
Down in the womb of nothingness,
Something, unreachable as ever, draws you
Against cool rocks, pristine darkness,
And there is a special place in the cave
Where you can feel a magnetism,
As if drawing you in through the wall.
Anything you would give, anything,
To press your way between those atoms
And there see yourself, O creator of all.
Darkness is a drink, sweetest of liquors,
So drunkenly we gathered, distilled,
Let the light fall away like a loose shift,
At the bourn of namelessness.
Separate yet attracted, like iron
To the deep quiet pole,
Ears pressed against the promised spot,
We breathed in stone-silence
With the ardor of a great yearning.
Suspension, perfection, boundlessness: birth repeats itself,
Time is discovered, congeals out, and with it, impatience.
Soon from the dark new voices resound: our own.
We rouse, take up again the weight of vision
And leave aside our dark-selves.
Clambering back towards the opening, it is like a white mouth
Devouring us into the light.
On the drive back, rain lies down hard and cools the earth.
We smile at the thunder, crank the windows wide.
My hand raised to the clouds, I feel with joy
The sting of tiny hail.