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The Lookout

by Ken Sanes

I am standing at the edge of the lookout,
gazing at the water in the fading light,
observing the arrival of another fall night.
From where I stand, I can hear behind me
the scraping sound of the crisp dead leaves
being carried by the wind along the street,
scattering and combining as it interweaves.
I can also take in almost all of the lake 
with its indented coast and still dark surface
that is smooth, reflective, and deeply opaque.
But as I stand here in the cool night air,
there's an unexpected change in the way I see
as natureís loss gives birth to a moment
when I can look and listen and simply be.
In this altered state, I am contained and still,
in a state of perfection, with a receptive will.
I am also, somehow, now part of this moment.
No -- what I want to say is that I am this moment:
Iím this ghostly moon obscured by passing clouds;
the craggy coast of the lake; the rich brown earth;
and the dark reflection of half-empty trees
in a living world imbued with ultimate worth.
But only for a moment. Then I take another look
at the barren trees shrouded by the night,
and I begin to scan for all the hidden dangers
that are folded inside the missing light,
as a familiar monologue starts up in my mind,
and I observe each thing from an inner lookout
that is well defended, insubstantial, and confined.
With the moment now over, I turn to walk away
from the fall of summer and the end of day.
And I think to myself that all of our experience,
along with all of our memories and words,
are the scattered pieces of our lost perfection,
made of fragments from the unrecovered soul,
with each piece yearning and taking position
in a continuous effort to rejoin the whole.
And poetry is part of this same divided order.
But poetry can form vital connections
through the draw of the story, symbol and rhyme,
as it seeks a way to bind our broken selves
and change our experience of life, space and time.
Of course, poetry is also a set of fabrications
with a way of speaking that is finally true,
which is why I remembered this perfect moment
and built a lookout with these words for you.

 


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