Lately I seem
to face my fate
with a more delicate dome,
decry my decay
with a tone, a mood
less doleful, less hopeful;
everything flows,
so said Heraclitus,
everything flows.

So say I, sitting alone
by this busy river,
fouled in its passing
by the filth of commerce;
the clear water,
the deer, the green trees
of yesteryear
long gone.

Sitting on a pier
I look at the dark water;
no enchanting picture
painted by some
master of the art;
a pier and a man
in a dirty barren landscape.

Like the flowing dirty river,
my fate, whatever it is,
a small thing in
the pattern of things,
balanced in the murk
of some uncertain future,
fluctuations of choice
and chance multifarious,
various outcomes
racing in and out of a void
defined and discrete,
powerful and possible
as the stuff of matter.

Straight up and down,
one way or the other,
in simpler days
our path was marked;
Dante’s magnificent journey,
conducted to Hades
and Purgatory by the shade
of a Roman poet;
lavishly upholstered
the both of them
with learning and sense,
making their way,
level by level
until Dante alone, the chosen,
led by his special angel,
slim as a willow,
to heaven’s final inflation.

What way was this?
The colossus of faith,
the twin columns
of heaven and hell
made it simple to see.
Now the way is
crazed with doubt;
dimensions, directions, disorder
we can’t know or understand.

Show me the way
unalterable fates,
choose or close
the skylight to heaven
or send me down below
or to the numberless worlds
or to the dim holograms
on the walls of nowhere.

Collapse the choices
and get the rack
or the harp ready
or ready nothing at all;
one way or the other
I’m coming, you know,
bound hand and foot,
signed, sealed and delivered.

Jack Harvey, a Pushcart nominee is published in a number of on-line and in print poetry magazines, including RavensPerch.