|William Bronk [Kelly Wise]|
from William Bronk’s Life Supports:
This is not the place we meant to come,
our eyes in alien places, lost, unknown.
And the mistaken ways we entered from
are not, on any map consulted, shown
as different from the route to another place.
We watched the waiting signs and recalled it when,
as though we saw an often photographed face,
we came to a town where the mind had already been.
But there is nothing here we recognize
— or only some, like the incongruous things which, found
in newly discovered ruins, have given rise
to thoughts which circumstances prove unsound.
And their equivocal presence can only say
that this is a place where things do lose the way.
My Young Nephew Sends Me
His Picture for a Present
You have had even to tip back
your head a little, lest there spill out
that wild glee you can barely hold until
the shutter clicks. Up-tilted, your face
is as though a bow, and the tense string
pulled back and back, your glee — oh back
so far, millennia make you a kid in the Land
Between the Two Rivers, or even earlier
in such a time as when, as now for you,
there was no other world but that world.
But we remember, are reminded, all
the Gods, the costumes, all the building styles,
ah, all those worlds since then: the lost
arrows from that bow, the clutter of time,
the dull debris. Dust from these ruins dirties us.
What, searching there, will anybody find
could have drawn its makers on, or, even then,
could have been called worth it once they reached it? Our
young glee drove us, heedless, and we went,
heedless, and dropped down where the force was spent.
Mountains they knew, and jungle, the sun, the stars —
these seemed to be there. But even after they slashed
the jungle and burned it and planted the comforting corn,
they were discontent. They wanted the shape of things.
They imagined a world and it was as if it were there
— a world with stars in their places and rain that came
when they called. It closed them in. Stone by stone,
as they built this city, these temples, they built this world.
They believed it. This was the world, and they,
of course, were the people. Now trees make up
assemblies and crowd in the wide plazas. Trees
climb the stupendous steps and rubble them.
In the jungle, the temples are little mountains again.
It is always hard like this, not having a world,
to imagine one, to go to the far edge
apart and imagine, to wall whether in
or out, to build a kind of cage for the sake
of feeling the bars around us, to give shape to a world.
And oh, it is always a world and not the world.