The Obelisk


wheat stands gilt ready for harvest
each crown bent in anticipation

hand in hand we enter the field
wade through the golden waves
toward the grove at the centre
a leisurely flow like choreography
across the calm and quiet space
our accompaniment not strings
lark and oriole and whippoorwill

this is slow motion
like the clouds across the sky
like the hawk lazing a circle at the centre

a day out of time
a day to leave one’s self behind
commune with some universal spirit

we are like that here
                              out of time
                                        out of place


the chiaroscuro of the wood
dapple of light among the black
makes all reality appear unreal
puts the lie to any notions
we might have had of noon

the feel is not of ghouls and grasping shadows

we enjoy our walk across the dampness
fallen leaves with the untimely shade
the soft breeze cooling us

what dark shadows might threaten
the slender darts of the sun melt
or soften to nothing more dangerous
than the sodden leaves underfoot

after the webbed shadow of the trees
the sun seems brighter than before
we pause at the edge of the grove
uncertain of our eyes

the field here is almost exactly
as the one we have left behind us
grain as gold
sky as blue
clouds as brightly glowing

except in the distance there is a shadow
perhaps of coming rain
and the hawk is nowhere to be seen
none of this surprises me

what does is the obelisk


it stands in the middle of the field
white and redolent of sunlight
possibly twenty metres tall
at its top
the life size figure of a man
his stance and attitude of attention
feet together
hands at his sides
face forward and upward

caught in some undertow of flowing grain
we gravitate from the shadows
toward this misplaced monument

as we move toward him
the man on the pedestal slowly raises his arms
to shoulder height

we are almost at the base of his tower
the man falls forward into nothingness

my heart stops
every function of my body stops
I feel the hand I hold in mine
convulse and tighten


the man sails gracefully forward
downward then upward
a broad spiral ever narrowing
toward the sun.

her grip on me loosens
life returns to my body

this man sails like a bird
ever upward until
I can barely see his form

he is shrunk to the size of a distant sparrow
still he moves
toward the burning centre of the sky
I watch his form gyre against
the soft white of the clouds


his is not the only dark form I see

above him is the shadow
seen earlier in the distance
moving closer now
downward as he moves upward

only as it begins its dive do I see
in it the shadowy shape of the hawk
the hawk after that sparrow
that soaring, flying man

she touches my hand again

I turn to look at her
a young woman with raven hair
her eyes reflecting the drama
far above us

she is gripping me tightly


the sky melts away like plastic
everything is black

I am shaking
being shaken
her hand no longer grabs at mine
no longer pulls me back

I am floating free


the man was still rising
the shadow was still swooping
I do not know the ending

all I remember is that man
feet together and arms spread
like some Christ
suspended in the sunlight
that shadow dropping over him
onto him like some predator bird

and him not knowing

Behind the Glass as Youth Walks Out

The street of ancient eyes reaches grasping futures walking in disguise upon uncertain pavements
Unwilling asphalt floats on prairie wild with brome and buffalo as ancient sunshine rises shimmering
Shapes contort in sunny seas as memories of aeons past go sailing disguised toward diminished ports
They say this quiet street becoming something someone said they saw once becoming now, avoid.