Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Watching The Dailies From A Railroad Trestle In Vermont

A creeping reel of film
stretched across the valley
between the shrouded hills,
a pastoral interlude before things
get lively and it heads through
town, the river both the film itself
and the screen on which it is projected.

Watching at dusk from the theater
of the trestle, the town huddled
on the banks shimmers across the screen.
The streetlamps, the slashing lights of
cars on the river road, the lights
in the windows of the hulking old
buildings, the steam from the paper mill.

Or at high noon, color and light
and evident shapes and motion,
floating clouds and a bright,
shattered sun transmuted time and
again in a quaking hall of mirrors.
Yet another dream shot for the ancient
cinematographer, the supreme panoramist.

He likes to keep his show rolling,
and loaded with literal sub-texts,
hidden backstories and tragic plot lines
stashed in the memory of moving water
and the murk beneath the surface.
A shame you can’t rewind the film
a hundred or even five hundred years.

If you wanted to, though, you could follow
its languid story all the way to its closing credits,
to the moon-tossed archives of the sea,
repository of a million dreams etched on
living water. This day will be there
soon, dissolving into fragments and,
finally, particles of pure and living light.

Sometimes, far out at sea, the ocean
will still screen jumbled festivals of the
old films it has acquired, and sailors
will be struck mute with wonder, forever
changed by they things they have seen.


  1. Lovely thoughts to end and start a year. Congratulations on your recognition from TIME. Very cool.

  2. Thanks, Moira. I've been thinking of you. Hope you're hanging in there.