No one dances where no music is

Out in the cold border
of the solar system
angels twitch, elves leap
no song stirs the no-air

meanwhile, here,

edges sharpen, and clouds
pull away from the sun

I hear that trees, unlike us,
hear the large hum of all that lies
beneath the scaffold sky

Reunion

After hours of fitful turning,
Georgie fell to sleeping,
The rasping cough too strenuous
The light too ambiguous,
His eyelids too large to will open

In his dream,
All that ever was and all that shall be
Converged on him, and he saw the limitless
And held it close to his heart

He saw the child’s Christmas, one with
Rubble-strewn streets and bomb-laced
Windows, the spanking cry of new-born
Wrinkled joy, one with tear-washed dead lips
Of a life, spent and discarded, brushed aside

He saw the stars, new and old, explode eternally,
Worlds awash with life and others bereft of it
And tiny, forlorn pulses in ancient crevices,
Which would have been long forgotten
Had anyone ever known of them.

He could see them all, and all seemed dear,
The sublime and the petty,
The ecstasy and the torment,
Down to the final finalness, indistinguishable
From the beginning

Even down to the last corner of the vastness,
Down to the last lonely planet
Where Georgie lay on the gurney,
The sheet pulled over his unblinking face.

Meditation for the end of the world

When the last fireball comes trundling through,
earth on its list poised to be crossed off,

try to find the platitude in the boast,
or see the plodding repetition in the sunset,

or the sheer tedium of mortality,
as if fear were a mere sauce for eternity,

for the certainty that in an infinity
of worlds all will have come to pass

over and over and over,
and even that, over again.

Self portrait

A man stands by a roadside,
the sky the shape of an onion,
one layer of cloud after another,
the point of coincidence
with the earth
too pale to define, and
the very idea of definition
is hazy, suspect.

The road … is there,
that’s all that can be said of it
with any assurance.
It is neither appealing
nor repulsive, there are no signs
telling of its ends
in either direction, there is little
to recommend it.

This man can be anyone — you,
your father, someone you knew
long ago but have forgotten,
a pope, a salesman, an original
thinker, a fraud, maybe
all of those at once.

What distinguishes him
is this time, this place,
the relentless now
and the slowly setting sun.