24 June 2009

Waltz Whitman

You propel me out onto the roads today,
brother. Striding
down the long hill away from my house, all
I want of the day
and the woods around me, is
to see.
Like you, I am queer
as the day is long, and I know better than to suspect
the cozy coddled world of established ways
will have me as I am -- without alteration -- or reward'
me for my defiant differences.

The sight of a well-train'd runner got your juices
flowing in 1867. I, myself, grapple with whether or not to dote on my work. I think, not. My work
shall arrive a paper out of time.
Should ti prove durable enough to pique curiosity, lo
those many years down the line, I"ll leave it
to the academians to determine the precise year of my poems'
I have the dates marked down
let them dig for them. It will give them something
academic to do...

But back to "The Runner" -- such a small
poem, that. Almost
And I embarrass myself with all this verbosity over
four simple lines.
Like a Chinese fan, you snapped that moment closed on paper.
I am pulling it open again, perhaps finding more
within, than originally existed.
From your grave
I hear you chuckling -- what a complicated mess
we butterflies pinned tot he board of the 21st Century
have made of simple things.
A runner.
A moment.
An impulse.
We are starving to understand mechanics, we moderns -- hungering to detect
THE mechanics
of Life, all secrets
we suppose
laid bare under the glass of adequate scrutiny.
But the microscope lowered too far
cracks the plate, and the specimen is lost
to intellectual greed.
to wonder from a distance.

My distaste with analysis sends me out
onto the roads today -- no pack on my back, no staff
in my hand, only paper and pen in my pocket
and a charged cell phone -- just in case. The road
eases by underfoot, the lives of all Sunday homebound citizens
who line this track out on display
for passers-by like me, to note well and bless with our attention. The woods sweep by
on either side -- oak and beech
and pine and hickory and maple and redbud
and more, most alive, some dying, many dead -- centering the road
with their sentry density.
You, brother, took alternately to city and country, much
as I have,
now and then traveling some distance to find some trace
of What Must Be Worshiped
or simply Must Be.
There was too much love in you
to be held to just one way or place,,e and my own
promiscuous muse is restless, now, too, aching
and whining
to be fed some new sweetmeat of experience.
But I am no single man, free to ramble
about my nation's back roads, criss-
crossing at will whatever country calls me. No,
I am a married woman, wedded to the kind
of life I suspect you disdained, and I have much
I must accomplish today.
The road leading away from my house
beckons. I take with me
the sense of you,
my pockets full of Now.