Tuesday, September 13, 2011

before the dog

i happened one night to think about when the world was newer,
the atmosphere not quite so tarnished, the evening sky
above olive groves like dark glass shining clear
with exquisitely wrought sequined light masterfully painted on air
offering a view of stars long gone or newly born—it was said
gods lived there like neighbors beyond the window—

i suppose someone, probably a black-haired man with skin toasted warm
brown by the aegean sun, stretched out on a hillside that fell steeply
to the sea, or sat on an outcropping of rocks, leftovers tossed into the waves
when the earth was dug out of the void and set to spinning round,
and looked up, mystified by how the gods continued tip-toeing
through so many hot sparks of light. he tried to count

each fleck—odd he didn't have anything better to do on a night like this—
an impossible task. instead he decided to trace pictures with his finger
envisioning star sculptures in heaven, after all he was greek and working
with forms was a thing his people were known for—that, and galaxies of
philosophers, poets, muses and myths. he saw the dog star up there—clever fellow—
sirius, the auspicious big dog, predictor of floods, and another one, procyon

rose before the dog—he was a man who loved dogs, my kind of guy—he asked
will i ever hear the music of the gods descending from these spheres?
envisioning lyres and double flutes and the graces. he knew nothing of a vast
black vacuum mutely churning and whirling around his blue home. later
men found a way to bring notes and rhythm through the window of infinity.
things change. procyon no longer rises before the dog—our world has a wobble—

like it did when my greek fellow longed for music. he, born too soon,
couldn't hear the gentle hum of radiation, the seismic thrums inside a star—
whistles, drumming, deep and slow—we couldn't hear them either
until astrophysicists tinkered with math, pumped up the numbers
translated the vibrating celestial pitch emanating from time's infancy
sounds from when the idea of man had not yet been conceived.

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