Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Beneath Is Better (A Theory of Understanding)

wings of angels rustle in Latin
says Zbigniew Herbert

I recall so little (amo amas
amat
) the little so broken I
sauntered soundless
down paths in the park

I heard a policeman speak
in fragments from above

from a helicopter I understood
little

less than Latin

rotors and engines and roaring traffic
a soup of grammars and syntax

Angel is an ancient word for
Entropy which word was invented
in 1868 by Clausius

I mean the turning inward
downward
demanded by police

Energy is another word another
world at night a bird

probably mockingbird

keeps awake
the weary

means nothing by it
“Means”
“Nothing”

entropia, turning inward
an older word

than the French for Cajun
acadienne but

perspective was invented by Vitruvius
then was not needed until
the invention of the railroad in 1789
by William Jessup who
invented the wheel
or a flanged version of it
to hang onto an iron rail

I learned from a book there are
trees beneath earth

Geoxylic suffrutices
forests sunk

trunks underground
and the merest wisp
of leaves left visible

within earth beneath fire
beneath breath of man or cosmos
immortal wooden wilderness.

Credit


From Light Wind Light Light (Omnidawn, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Bin Ramke. Used with the permission of Omnidawn Publishing.

Author


Bin Ramke

Bin Ramke is the author of Massacre of the Innocents (University of Iowa Press, 1995) and Wake (University of Iowa Press, 1998), both of which won the Iowa Poetry Prize.

Date Published: 2018-04-09

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/beneath-better-theory-understanding