Friday, April 7, 2017

Jack Scott writes


Cavern undesignated on the map,
virgin to each visitor brave enough t
o challenge claustrophobia in its lair.
A sign along the highway, that was all
until debate and then decision came to bear:
Let’s do it. Yes, let’s, it looks like fun.
Turn around and then turn in,
meet the owner, part time farmer,
buy a ticket,
commitment swift and easy
until misgivings set in,
perhaps too swift and easy -
too late for that.
What have we done?
What are we about to do?

The mind, the heart,
alarms pre-set to panic
made susceptible
to dire imaginings
by fright movies,
memories of things
that did not happen,
recollected trauma
of physical restraint,
prank overextended,
primal fear of mine collapse
or something very like it.
(Locked in closet
and forgotten, so they said.)
We both had doubt,
and feared the outcome
of our rash decision.
How long can breath be held,
how much briefer just the thought of it
before panic’s rictus
mutates into scream?

Hole in hillside, not even mountain;
there goes preconception
based on movies, novels, fancy,
half recalled geology.

Besides claustrophobia,
caves have within them
blindness and its hazards -
another uninformed opinion.
We entered into light:
bulbs here and there above,
Christmas lights in monochrome
illumined crystal palace
of a pharaoh long departed
for a more prosaic place.
We were alone, we three,
realizing time in amber.

Within the space beneath the surface
lay catacomb of ancient stone,
unbeknownst to casual stroller
on the upper two dimensions.
Within its cloistered ambiance
coolness sheltered on the hottest day,
a sense of transport rose like mist
into illusion, readiness to believe
we were touring another planet,
surprisingly so close to home.

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