The Slope of the Mountain


The slope of the mountain is its gift to us
or else it would be perfectly sheer

The lightning-storm clattering this way and that
with its quicksilver electronic bolts
is a peace signature when the sky clears

Wheels rotating faster than the eye can see
like the nearly invisible velocity of minnows
is their utter stillness in the two
worlds with silent reverberations in both

The madman who swings an axe in the marketplace
running amok after a mild-mannered lifetime of
niceties and simple courtesies is the
world cleaved in two and each radiant
half like a wound translated into two
foreign languages both expressing pain

The end of the world takes place in a
breath-beat before the beginning
its chorus of blind singers on rooftops
serenades every tragedy that ever befalls us
like teams of horses falling
gradually through the air their eager
destination thwarted

The sign of sound is its careful articulation
a gasp instead of a shout a crying out in
high-C instead of a low croon in a
cheap dive

I kiss the back of the hand of the initial impetus
I stroke the living flame into a blaze from a
lone spark in the heart put there
personally by Divine gesture

We shall not have lived in vain if we can
see this in the blink of our life that we’ve
been given shedding
radiant hairs blindingly bright
a sweet embrace on a mountain slope
in a lightning storm that’s over faster than the
rotation of wheels like a controlled madness
brought home in the glance of a loving eye
somewhere just before the fierce

dawn of the world

8/5/2002 (from Through Rose Colored Glasses)

Categories: Poems