along the bank of the river
the water eddies
and minnows sparkle,
but this is not where the river
is about its secret business.
I want to go down to the cutting bottom
where the same water that plays along the shore
cleared away the bones of the dead,
pushed aside settled sand and silt
millennia before Christ was conceived
where the same water that laps tentatively
by my shoes
has been chiselling at rock
with jackhammer inevitability,
making its deep way.
with the time I have
I will leave my mark on the world
until my waters run dry
and the fire consumes us all.
which of us said that? I wonder
turning away from the fish
and back up the worn trail
the fall sun just over the trees
leans shadows that are long stories
from the fence posts
lining the road I am running on.
my own shadow stretches out to the west
broken by the rough of grass,
then granular with the asphalt –
this is suddenly the measure
of what is left, I realize.
the light has a metallic truth to it,
unavoidable hard realism,
not like the fairy twilight
that blends the worlds of waking and dream.
but the sweeping reach of the shadows
do not put me into the present
the way the noon sun will,
hanging overhead like an inquisitor’s bulb —
undeniable and demanding of truth,
but only the truth of now.
instead this early morning light
forces reflection over what is yet to come.
one must wait until the evening
when the shadows trail into the past
to ponder what has been done.
thinking of a bell, with its great hollow —
the emptiness is where the tone happens,
tongue swinging from side to side
as a boy pulls a rope far below.
the difference between a hammering
of metal on metal
and a call to reflection and community
is but the shape of the empty space
and the tongue that occupies it.
photo courtesy magic robots (CC-BY-SA)