The world is older than any thought. All thought.
The earth primary and larger than our ideas.
Step outside and look up at the oak, its broken
branches, the deepening split in its trunk.
How long before a huge limb crashes down
yielding at last to gravity’s whispered invitation
to come home? The tree is one of a line on a ridge,
shoreline of glacial Lake Iroquois. All dying now,
crowns shrinking, boniness thrusting
through the canopy, everything changing.
Standing beside that giant lake you can’t imagine
a far shore. Where it stops the world does. One
oar stroke too many and you’ll fall
into the nothing no longer contained in a name:
night’s kingdom, chaos, place of origin and dissolution,
cellar of the gods, death’s home.
is massive, your own self small
beside it. Learn this, not
to despair but to vanquish despair.
Published online June 01 2009.