|I asked them in the shiny classroom with
the Creed and the Sutra to take the world,
cut it into two parts, and reduce each to
one word; and as bright as they were they
reported: The two words are Substance
and Emptiness; which, when I told this to
the philosopher, he said, They might as
well have said, Materialism and Mysticism;
and that would tear it for the whole thing.
That same week died a beautiful
princess, a saintly nun, and a musician.
As I am fond of trinities, this pleased me.
That was a wonderful week to die.
Beneath every ballad is a bass line
singing a song sometimes counter to,
or supplementary of, or even quarreling
with its melody. Sometimes it bursts forth,
a sprinter out of the blocks, or, as the
heartbreak cello in Anitra's dance, into
a melody of its own. Either way, an
underground breath and heartbeat
resonates to deeper music behind
the chaos of falling leaves, the random
whirling of galaxy stars--patterns without
which all songs are wan and thin.
So if a world can be rendered to rapture
and science, matter and faith, then what is
matter? We are told it is not matter at all--
it is light! It is planet-possibles whipping
around supposed suns so fast, so hot,
sense can't see them. It is an orchestra
of energies playing ballads beyond the ear,
the delight of skin and hips just out of touch.
Our East and West requires a third term,
as does microscope and chalice. If one is
disposed to love leaves so green and
skies so blue--to romance a princess,
venerate the saint, to repair in our hidden
hearts the great bass chords and lines
that are the world's true furniture:
Substance, emptiness, and art; princess,
nun, and music maker create the trinities
needed; and that beneath the requirement
to die, under apparent confusion of leaves
the breakforth of bass notes of a melody sings,
sounding its most distant and deepest strings.
Back to SF Poetry Page
Back to SF Home Page
Page updated by TiPi, 10/27/2000