Finally the tourists go,
The young girls with their figs and honey,
Young men who squat exposing their privates,
Small children drowsy,
Old men and women leaving at best a few pennies.
Tonight the moon rises like ivory against the blackness.
Like the child’s my head hurts.
Who will place his mouth upon my mouth,
Eyes upon my eyes, hands upon my hands?
Shall I sneeze seven times and open my eyes?
Success occurs hardly once in a lifetime.
Water, air, earth, fire and all their mixture
Decay and last only a little.
The most sublime goal is defeat
Of being itself; God-given consciousness
Turns on us with special savagery.
I have my dead
And I would let them go
Opening my dumb mouth thus,
Were it not for the ecstasy
Of God unrestrained.
Tomorrow a northwest wind will splinter the cypress.
A barge swishing along the shore will overturn,
As if one act of will is compared to another,
And I a component between two possibilities;
Space and Time invert but are no more real than
The contemplative’s knowledge of himself.
Business will be better than usual,
A coming to be and a passing away.
So little to be gained after all,
And my crude attempts little better than
Grapplings with a ghost.
I tell you now the world still falls
Like a jug to its own destruction.
Daniel James Sundahl is Emeritus Professor in English and American Studies at Hillsdale College where he taught for 34 years.