Reductio Ad Poemam

Reductio Ad Poemam

Given: that any poem exists,
Scrawled in the black expanse of space,
Dimensionless, which has no parts, whole,
An expression which needs no context:

Prove that somewhere, in a prior place,
A poet, sleeping, stirs uneasily
In a dream-studded slumber which is like
The star encumbered night encroached by day,
Who wakes to find his fleeting visions frail.

He is that shepherd in antiquity
Who lies amidst his sheep and, searching stars
For deities and demons, unknowingly describes
Constellations to an unborn sailor
Who will navigate an unnamed sea.

He cannot count. The pebbles in his hand
Enumerate the members of his flock.
He sifts them, marvels at their mystery,
And lays foundations for Infinity.

But, night is almost spent. The day draws nigh.
The rosy-fingered dawn disturbs his sheep.
The poet rises from his fitful sleep.

I cry out “Euclid, Homer!” But, the ghost
Turns a deaf ear, filled with molten wax.

(circa 1977)

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