The Blue Stairs
There is no fear in taking the first step or the second or the third having a position between several Popes In fact the top can be reached without disaster precocious The code consists in noticing the particular shade of the staircase occasionally giving way to the emotions It has been chosen discriminately To graduate the dimensions ease them into sight republic of space Radiant deepness a thumb passed over it disarming as one who executes robbers Waving the gnats and the small giants aside balancing How to surprise a community by excellence somehow it occurred living a public life The original design was completed no one complained In a few years it was forgotten floating It was framed like any other work of art not too ignobly kicking the ladder away Now I shall tell you why it is beautiful Design: extraordinary color: cobalt blue secret platforms Heels twist it into shape It has a fantastic area made for a tread that will ascend Being humble i.e. productive Its purpose is to take you upward On an elevator of human fingerprints of the most delicate fixity Being practical and knowing its denominator To push one foot ahead of the other Being a composite which sneers at marble all orthodox movements It has discovered in the creak of a footstep the humility of sound Spatially selective using this counterfeit of height To substantiate a method of progress Reading stairs as interpolation in the problem of gradualness with a heavy and pure logic The master builder acknowledges this As do the artists in their dormer rooms eternal banishment Who are usually grateful to anyone who prevents them from taking a false step And having reached the summit would like to stay there even if the stairs are withdrawn
From Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing by Barbara Guest, published by Kelsey St. Press. Copyright © 2003 by Barbara Guest. Originally published in The Blue Stairs (New York: Corinth Books, 1968). Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.