Apothecary Jars

Apothecary jars on shelves of burnished silver
beakers filled with smoke gurgling in the dark

Something must be brewing from these nefarious ingredients
shamans in the depths of shadowy forests might use

Bits of waxed thread amber in its gum form
shedding lovely golden glows on the proceedings

Cotton dipped in liquid light then dabbed on clean surfaces
(I’m not even sure what these various things are for)

Maybe buried deep in Bavaria mountain fastnesses
these laboratories exploding sometimes with transformations

Their innocent practitioners having to stand back suddenly
while a whole new creation forms before their eyes

Not a mote or motion goes by without God’s knowledge
every shred of evidence left behind or in eternity

Each new combination of antiquated materials
that opens its infant eyes on this rapidly passing world

Suddenly it’s quiet in the alchemist’s environment
everything assumes a uniform pewter sheen

Rumblings are heard from distant deep volcanoes
even straight pins on the floor begin to vibrate

The sky leans lower and the earth strains up to meet it
there’s suddenly an unearthly but inclusive coming together

Unseen world and seen world embrace in broad daylight
an audible whisper of intelligible phrases is clearly heard

This poem tumbles into being with all its shortcomings
the way a whirling dervish solemnly steps onto the floor

and takes its joy and gnosis by simply circulating
where before there’d been nothing but the usual equilibrium

It all takes place in silence
and returns there when it’s done

New windows are opened
where before there’d been none


12/28/2007 (from The Fire Eater’s Lunchbreak)

Categories: Poems

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