V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





The ant in the shadow of this blade of grass
Is indifferent to my presence, to the action
Of the day, to the creaking of the limbs
Of the sycamore, to the sun lowering itself
Slowly from the scaffolding of the sky.
In the choir loft formed by the coreopsis
A million midges are absorbed in a requiem Mass.
It is the death of summer.  Consciousness is divine.
Jeff and Julie have been painting the house
And there is a perfect star of Kashmir green paint
On the cracked concrete expanse of the driveway.

The ant has not moved.  It is deep in meditation.
The midges can't help but move.  The light spreads
As it lengthens.  There is a clear reason why poetry
Is an escape from pain.  A poem is an extension of
Meditative consciousness.  The ant's soul is composed
Of formic acid.  It lives in a world of roots and jaws.
It has a keen olfactory sense.  It is indifferent
To the sole of my running shoe, to my frayed shoelace,
To my shadow on the grass.  Who decreed that on this planet
Every living thing would absorb energy by eating every other
Living thing?  Midges are pure energy.  The rays of the sun
Illuminate them.  Each thistle cone of the coreopsis
Blazes up in the light like a crown.  Jeff and Julie
Roared off on his Harley, green paint on their faces.
They were smiling.  The crowns of the coreopsis nod.

I think, therefore I am divine.  Would you call this a poem?
Robert Bly insists upon twenty-four months of silence
Before you dare call yourself a poet.  Ants understand
The principle of undefiled silence.  My ant glows
Like charcoal now in the lengthening rays of the sun.
I kneel and whisper, "Look up at me.  I'm here."

© by John Gilgun


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