THE BLOG

Poets' Corner: From The Tower at the Top of the Winding Stairs

It seemed that the mountains of Vermont were hunchbacks
ringing their own silent bells, and above them
an opaque, cloudless sky a model of how to remain calm
while other parts of you might be thunder and rain.
From the tower it didn't take long to see the dangers
in believing that seeing was knowing - high flying birds
revealing our need for angels, some wispy scud
evidence of a past I'd yet to resolve. Still, wasn't
the psychological real? The tower itself had no opinion.
Men and women could be seen planting tomatoes
and rows of lettuce, touching each other goodbye,
and from this height others could be imagined creating
something wonderful out of motives like envy, even spite,
warding off, as they felt it, melancholy's encroachment.
To ascend the tower was to want not to come down.
There to the south -- because I had begun to dream -
you could see congressmen suddenly released
from the prisons of their partisanship, wrestling amiably
with the imperfections of human existence. And, beyond,
enemies dropping their guns, asking for forgiveness.
Everything felt comic, how else could it be bearable?
The tower itself was proof I couldn't escape
when I escaped from the world. Out of its side window
I could see a house on fire, and in the distance
cows and goats dotting the hillside, and dogs everywhere --
no matter their size, either forlorn or frisky,
entirely dependent on the good will of others.
Soon the night birds would be calling other night birds,
the normal influx of eros begin to mix with music
heard from below. I'd feel it was time to come down,
to touch and be touched, take part in a dailiness
for which I'd need words like welter or maelstrom.
But for now if I looked hard I could see the random
pine cone, the random leaf, and if I closed your eyes
something like a pattern, the semblance of an order.