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Poetry

The relation of a poem to time is as follows:
a narrative poem travels along a stream
creating white ruffles
of water behind it
swimming over rocks it arrives at the ocean and dies

A lyric poem unlocks a door in the stream
taking a deep breath it walks through the door
into a big square lobby in the sky
where Time Present greets it smiling radiantly
efficient hostess that she is

Time Present reassures the lyric poem
you are back home now in eternity
nothing to fear so take it easy my dear
Time Past won’t hurt you anymore he can’t get in
would you like to order something at the bar

Traveling the stream’s white rapids
or glancing around at eternity’s
cloud castles aloft in all that blue
the poem speaks its mind
And as soon as a thing is said

it becomes true
if it is a poem

if it does not become true
it was not a poem


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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