Sunday, October 18, 2009

825. First Day of the Future - Galway Kinnell

They always seem to come up
on the future, these cold, earthly dawns;
the whiteness and the blackness
make the flesh shiver as though it's starting to break.
But always it is just another day they illuminate
of the permanent present. Except for today.
A motorboat sets out across the bay,
a transfiguring spirit, its little puffy gasps
of disintegration collected
and hymned out in a pure purr of dominion.
It disappears. In the stillness again
the shore lights remember the dimensions of the black water.
I don't know about this new life.
Even though I burned the ashes of its flag again and again
and set fire to the ticket that might have conscripted me into its
ranks forever,
and I squandered my talents composing my emigration papers,
I think I want to go back now and live again in the present time,
back there
where someone milks a cow and jets of intensest nourishment go
squawking into a pail,
where someone is hammering, a bit of steel at the end of a stick
hitting a bit of steel, in the archaic stillness of an afternoon,
or somebody else saws a board, back and forth, like hard labor
in the lungs of one who refused to come to the very end.
But I guess I'm here. So I must take care. For here
one has to keep facing the right way, or one sees one dies, and one