Friday, April 7, 2017

Jack Scott writes


That was just the first few steps
as we walked beneath
the underside of forest,
spiderwebbing tree roots
tendrilled on mosaic ceiling.
So soon the sun became
a fading memory
upon a dimming atlas.

The crystals were a wonder,
so many different sizes,
all kin within extended family
quietly living in seclusion.
(They grow, ergo they live.)
Everywhere they were,
bars of their own zoo,
yet any of them free
to go with us
if we should choose
and pay for them.
There were small pools
of water, crystal-clear,
holding jewelry reflected
by quartz and amethyst
mirrors bouncing their reflections
around their chambers,
like Fun House images.
Stone icicles threatening,
stalactites taking centuries
to kiss stalagmites below,
their troll-like brethren.
And then a lake, godmother of those pools,
cathedral after trail of shrines,
magnifying reflected light,
seeming to create it.

This was glory, subterranean,
underground, ignored, unknown.
Mundane the life above
without the knowledge
that all this is here,
beneath attention.
This is mystery itself,
revealed at the moment
to no more than
the three of us.
I wonder if our host
has attempted to describe
his hidden habitat
to others in the upper, outside world
and if he failed to do it justice
(and how could he not?)
and gain their interest, did he just give it up.

If offered passage to the moon,
ask not how you’ll get back,
or even whether.
This is moon
and we are within it:
cathedral, temple, shrine
rare privilege we’d have missed
if we’d been counseled by our fear,
cowered by our rationality,
kept out by claustrophobia.

Our guide was good to us,
steward of this under-earth,
neutralizing fear,
shepherding us onward
in parenthesis of the visible
tunnel of light and sight
within a midnight sea,
no longer stranger
to his captive guests,
in his uncommon backyard.

This was a guided tour;
he shared what he knew with us
and had enlarged his knowledge
by studying more than
what the cave alone had taught him.
Though yet unexpressed,
our gratitude lay in his
inspiring courage without retreat
within the sometimes spooky
murk of pyramid,
trusting that our voyage
into the bowels of the earth
would not prove terminal.

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