A Train the Length of the Earth

January 13, 2008
A scent takes you back to carelessness and joy
An old story, dusty on the bookshelf, contains crisp white pages
He passes by but does not pass away
like a train the length of the earth, traveling ever so slowly, his nose dependably catching up with his tail
We seldom capture him in his entirety,
yet we always see him passing
He does not reveal himself
although he comes around many times
so that the vigilant and the opportune may catch him twice
He is non-existent outside the human perception:
burned clocks and watches leave no trace of him but ashes
We are born and we grow and we die,
yet the surrounding universe remains unaffected
We believe that he is concrete,
but pick up a yardstick and try to measure the second that seems to be hopelessly dangling in the air . . . .
Nothing . . . .
Immeasurable by the wave of a tree branch,
the earliest breath of a baby,
the final note of a concerto,
or an original thought
He is a mystery taken for granted
assuming multiple forms:
a wrinkle, a wounded heart, a vacant house,
a dirty piece of clothing, a stench in the air, a dried up river, an exploding star . . . .
Lacking constant structure,
Time takes the unique form

of a mystery taken for granted

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