At some point in the day, as such, there was a pool. Of stillness. One bent to brush one's hair, and, lifting again, there it was, the opening—one glanced away from a mirror, and there, before one's glance reached the street, it was, dilation and breath—a name called out in another's yard—a breeze from where—the log collapsing inward of a sudden into its hearth—it burning further, feathery—you hear it but you don't look up—yet there it bloomed—an un- learning—all byway no birthpain—dew—sand falling onto sand—a threat from which you shall have no reprieve—then the reprieve—Some felt it was freedom, or a split-second of unearthliness—but no, it was far from un- earthly, it was full of earth, at first casually full, for some millennia, then despertately full—of earth—of copper mines and thick under-leaf-vein sucking in of light, and isinglass, and dusty heat—wood-rings bloating their tree-cells with more life—and grass and weed and tree intermingling in the undersoil—& the earth's whole body round filled with uninterrupted continents of burrowing—&earthwide miles of tunnelling by the mole, bark bettle, snail, spider, worm—& ants making their cross- nationstate cloths of soil, & planetwide the chewing of insect upon leaf—fish-mouth on krill, the spinning of coral, sponge, cocoon—this is what entered the pool of stopped thought—a chain suspended in the air of which one link for just an instant turned to thought, then time, then heavy time, then suddenly air—a link of air!—& there was no standing army anywhere, & the sleeping bodies in the doorways in all the cities of what was then just planet earth were lifted up out of their sleeping bags, & they walked away, & the sensation of empire blew off the link like pollen—just like that—off it went—into thin air—& the athletes running their games in Delphi entered the zone in the long oval of the arena where you run in shadow, where the killer crowd becomes one sizzling hiss, where, coming round that curve the slowness happens, & it all goes inaudible, & the fatigue the urgent sprint the lust makes the you fantastically alone, & the bees thrum the hillsides, & all the blood that has been wasted—all of it—gathers into deep coherent veins in the earth and calls itself history—& we make it make sense— & we are asked to call it good.
From Sea Change by Jorie Graham, published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2008 by Jorie Graham. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Jorie Graham was born in New York City on May 9, 1950, the daughter of a journalist and a sculptor.
Date Published: 2008-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/just-0