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—

where?

 

 

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

 

 

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