Some Consequences of the Made Thing

Dan Beachy-Quick

The End. Above these words the sky closes.
It closes by turning white. Not
The white of all clouds or being within a cloud.
White of worldless light. The End.
Feel a silence there that reminds you of a scent.
Crushed grass the hooves galloped through
Or is it the binder’s glue?
Some silence never not real finally can be
Heard. Silence before the first words.
Precedent chaos. Or marrow work.
Or just the sound of the throat opening to speak.
Like those scholars of pure water
Who rode through mountains and meadows
To drink from each fresh spring a glass
And then with brush and ink wrote poems
On the differences of sameness,
You too feel yourself taste the silent page
Of the end and the silent page of beginning.
They taste so much of whiteness never more
White than white that’s been lost.
You have some sense of the book
Altering, page sewn secretly next to page,
Last page stitched to first. O, earth—
It rolls around the solar scroll
Turning nothing into years and years into
Nothing. At The End you’re a witness to this work
That wears the witness away. And who are you
Anyway. Pronoun of the 2nd person. Lover,
Stranger, God. Student, Child, Shade.
Something similar gathers in you.
Another way of saying I in a poem—
Of saying I in a poem that realizes at the end
That I am just a distance from myself.
And so are you. That same distance.

More by Dan Beachy-Quick

Hariot's Round


     I know, to entice, to convince, I must sing
   Your ear inside stone, must sing
     Gold bitten and true, the corn kernel, one seed, 
       I must plant one gold seed in your mouth with my lips.
Raleigh says: the Queen knows my name. The Crown
       Of a woodpecker is ruby, but shy.
     Inhabitants adorn themselves with feathers, and feathers
   Bright on arrow ends. Bow--before a Queen. Bend closed my book.
The page is deaf that turns back to look at what it found.

This Nest, Swift Passerine [excerpt]

But how find how as it flew onward
& the mountains gave back the sound
to say what I mean the call of the bird
& the echoe after to say I've seen?

Raven hungers and calls and the mountain
Hungers back and calls
The whole range of peaks in the bird's beak.
Raven lonely and the mountain rings
Loneliness & the echoe after we could see
him no longer 

The echo after we could see 	Light in echo the eye sees
also through the ear 		a double infinity

Heroisms, 4, 5

4.

I speak these words directly into his yawn

Open cave of
                    his dark almost kind
                                                  of fire-lit mouth 


And the shadows there my words form these shadows
In the back of the hero's throat

A world we applaud where chained to the ground
We watch the trees walk past us. There are other ways to describe the year:

Seasons of
The hero's boredom. 


5.

Where the horror is comparison, honor sees
Hands in the trees instead of leaves—

Honesty asks why the applause is so quiet
When the wind blows so hard—

Breath is the atmosphere at utmost extreme
Where the lungs are flowers—thought the dew—

The sun doubts everything, a general statement
In whose light the hero sees these helpless things

Beg mercy, beg darkness for obscurity—
We do not comprehend the awe, it comprehends us—

When leaves fold in halves they look sleepy
Like eyes, but these eyes are fists

Related Poems

My Philosophy of Life

Just when I thought there wasn't room enough
for another thought in my head, I had this great idea—
call it a philosophy of life, if you will.  Briefly,
it involved living the way philosophers live,
according to a set of principles. OK, but which ones?

That was the hardest part, I admit, but I had a
kind of dark foreknowledge of what it would be like.
Everything, from eating watermelon or going to the bathroom
or just standing on a subway platform, lost in thought
for a few minutes, or worrying about rain forests,
would be affected, or more precisely, inflected
by my new attitude.  I wouldn't be preachy,
or worry about children and old people, except
in the general way prescribed by our clockwork universe.
Instead I'd sort of let things be what they are
while injecting them with the serum of the new moral climate
I thought I'd stumbled into, as a stranger
accidentally presses against a panel and a bookcase slides back,
revealing a winding staircase with greenish light
somewhere down below, and he automatically steps inside
and the bookcase slides shut, as is customary on such occasions.
At once a fragrance overwhelms him—not saffron, not lavender,
but something in between.  He thinks of cushions, like the one
his uncle's Boston bull terrier used to lie on watching him
quizzically, pointed ear-tips folded over. And then the great rush 
is on.  Not a single idea emerges from it.  It's enough
to disgust you with thought.  But then you remember something
   William James
wrote in some book of his you never read—it was fine, it had the
   fineness,
the powder of life dusted over it, by chance, of course, yet
   still looking
for evidence of fingerprints. Someone had handled it
even before he formulated it, though the thought was his and
   his alone.

It's fine, in summer, to visit the seashore.
There are lots of little trips to be made.
A grove of fledgling aspens welcomes the traveler.  Nearby
are the public toilets where weary pilgrims have carved
their names and addresses, and perhaps messages as well,
messages to the world, as they sat
and thought about what they'd do after using the toilet
and washing their hands at the sink, prior to stepping out
into the open again.  Had they been coaxed in by principles,
and were their words philosophy, of however crude a sort?
I confess I can move no farther along this train of thought—
something's blocking it.  Something I'm 
not big enough to see over.  Or maybe I'm frankly scared.
What was the matter with how I acted before?
But maybe I can come up with a compromise—I'll let
things be what they are, sort of.  In the autumn I'll put up jellies
and preserves, against the winter cold and futility,
and that will be a human thing, and intelligent as well.
I won't be embarrassed by my friends' dumb remarks,
or even my own, though admittedly that's the hardest part,
as when you are in a crowded theater and something you say
riles the spectator in front of you, who doesn't even like the idea
of two people near him talking together. Well he's 
got to be flushed out so the hunters can have a crack at him—
this thing works both ways, you know. You can't always
be worrying about others and keeping track of yourself
at the same time.  That would be abusive, and about as much fun
as attending the wedding of two people you don't know.
Still, there's a lot of fun to be had in the gaps between ideas.
That's what they're made for!  Now I want you to go out there
and enjoy yourself, and yes, enjoy your philosophy of life, too.
They don't come along every day. Look out!  There's a big one...