Ethereal – #poetry


Ethereal

The ancients trusted their guts — they knew
as well as we (but were braver in the saying) that
all we are,
all we have ever been,
all we will ever be, is made of
air.

Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that — the stuff of life
ingested from invisibility, the building
blocks of flesh and bone
loved
into the palpable. Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that.

They call it “stepping down”, that chain of commands
from saint
to teacher
to student
to life,
the pulling out of the atmosphere those invisible lessons that should make us brave
and noble
and good
and kind, those traits all too rare that should make us
much more than animals and a little less
than angels,
traits
that are rarely measured, except
by the good wishes and good-bye parties and the sorrows of those left behind,
whether by job transfer
or dropped-body passing… all of us along the way
hoping
that life will give to student,
who will tell teacher,
who will show saint,
that this life dwelled among pulsing veins and moving fluids and the tyranny
of the anxious loveless and the rise and fall
of wishfully
affectionate ways amongst onetime strangers
is one of those things
that truly matter,
that really counts
for something.

How do we number the ways that we fall — for things, for people, for ideas, for all those qualities
we crave? In falling,
we rise —
to the ethers,
to the upper, purer air above us,
to the celestial realms that have meaning for us now
only in shadow
and unenunciated veneration for ritual and symbol that,
no longer in style, molder
among winsome monks and devoted nuns of every ilk. All of it,
again,
is made of air,
ether,
that stuff that the ancients had full faith was the root of their existence, folding
over into their tolerance for mystery, much higher
than ours… their need of it,
their trust in it, exceeding the capacity of modern logic.

We want,
we want,
how we want,
how much we want. Putting
our fingers on what it is we really desire
for ourselves, is no more easy
than counting motes of dust aloft in a sunbeam, and half the time
we kid others
into thinking we want it for them, when truth
mumbles
something
less noble, less
easily justified and quantified, but far
closer to bone and flesh and pulsing fluid than slips comfortably past our lips.

The ancients trusted
our guts — they said what we are
too cowardly to admit — that
all we are,
all we have ever been,
all we will ever be, is made of
air.

Breathe in… breathe out… there’s magic in that.

 

1998

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About Kay Stoner

Inventor, coder, ux designer. Writer and independent publisher.
This entry was posted in books, poetry, publishing, women, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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