Richard Reeve

Unheeding any language . . .

Unheeding any language, past thought perhaps,
More powerful than any love, the land moves.
The mountains bald, an ice shawl of their caps
Translating in the trillion bed-rock grooves
Into god-sized rivers, working wide the gaps.

And we, like bits of lint, pass through all this
(Almost without a thought for what will come).
Sometimes the plates will shiver in their kiss,
And thousands scream, but generally we ‘um’
And get on with our work. Such agelessness,

Or something like that, yes, they dream it so,
Such weight of time as drags the crust beyond
These anaerobic depths, these seas that grow
Unceasingly—whole food chains that abscond
With the high tide—invites no man to know

What part he plays in this unyielding scheme.
The planes glide past, inside them silent apes;
Each peers across the vast lands as in dream,
Bemused by death. Inconscionably they traipse,
From plot to plot, and pay for their esteem.

By credit card of course, or traveller’s cheek—
They understand the joke, though rarely such
As might set off a trembling through their teak,
Or trouble them with nightsweats overmuch.
Their horoscope was true: they spurn mystique.

And yet there are those too who do not speak.
The stones themselves breathe age; no metaphor
Would entertain the nothing which they seek.
These press their mouths against a bolted door,
Or drift the public landmarks, week by week.

Author’s Note


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