WHAT IT WOULD NOW TAKE: poem
By: Clark Kimball
What it would now take
to get the returned Ithacan
from here to there would be,
no doubt, not what it had taken then,
to get him from there to here; no.
For there, he remembers,
was where youthful ignorance
shouldered the long oar,
embarked upon the swift boat,
and tried its back and arms and legs
against the restless sea
and the moon’s perfect tides.
But here? Now?
Here is where neither informed choice
nor willful strength effect
the boat, the oar, or the pull of time:
here heroic deeds fail;
now is never, ever failing.
To take the further journey far inland
to the place foreshadowed,
to get the unshouldered oar planted,
in the place where the sea remains
unknown and beyond imagination,
in some calm grave-earth, and grown—
Without the known encompassings
of the taking and of the getting,
without the knowing and the imagining
of the living and the dying,
how is this place to exist at all, at last?
Here or there, now or then, without bearings,
with only some still point pivoting within,
balanced between a well-worn handle
and a razor-sharp blade, in singular cause.
What it now would take
to be this brave Ulysses
at this perfect point,
in this preternatural planting,
of this impossible riddle—
what it would now take!
Blind Tiresias, poet, wonders, too.
There would be wise-woman, Penelope,
wife, patiently-grown and waiting.
For Kate O’Connor Asheville Sanhain 2010