There were mice, and even Smaller creatures holed up in the rafters. One would raise its thumb, or frown, And suddenly the clouds would part, and the whole Fantastic contraption come tumbling down. And the arcade of forgotten things Closed in the winter, and the roller coaster Stood empty as the visitors sped away Down a highway that passed by an old warehouse Full of boxes of spools and spoons. I wonder if these small mythologies, Whose only excuse for existing is to maintain us In our miniscule way of life, Might possibly be true? And even if they were, Would it be right? Go find the moon And seal it in the envelope of night. The stars are like a distant dust And what the giants left lies hidden in full view. Brush your hair. Wipe the blood from your shoes. Sit back and watch the firedance begin. --So the rain falls in place, The playground by the school is overrun with weeds And we live our stories, filling up our lives With souvenirs of the abandoned Factory we have lingered in too long.
“After all,” that too might be possible . . .
It isn’t too late, but for what I’m not sure.
Though I live for possibility, I loathe unbridled
Speculation, let alone those vague attempts
At self-exploration that become days wasted
Trying out the various modes of being:
The ecstatic mode, which celebrates the world, a high
That fades into an old idea; the contemplative,
Which says, So what? and leaves it there;
The skeptical, a way of being in the world
Without accepting it (whatever that might mean).
They’re all poses, adequate to different ends
And certain ages, none of them conclusive
Or sufficient to the day. I find myself surprised
By my indifference to what happens next:
You’d think that after almost seventy years of waiting
For the figure in the carpet to emerge I’d feel a sense of
Urgency about the future, rather than dismissing it
As another pretext for more idle speculation.
I’m happy, but I have a pessimistic cast of mind.
I like to generalize, but realize it’s pointless,
Since everything is there to see. I love remembering
For its own sake and the feel of passing time
It generates, which lends it meaning and endows it
With a private sense of purpose—as though every life
Were a long effort to salvage something of its past,
An effort bound to fail in the long run, though it comes
With a self-defeating guarantee: the evaporating
Air of recognition that lingers around a name
Or rises from a page from time to time; or the nothing
Waiting at the end of age; whichever comes last.