The Profile Makers
As I’ve said before, I am always struck by poems with wheels within wheels of imagination. In “The Ghost Trio” by Bierds, for example, the poet imagines herself as Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles) imagining a painting he’d once seen of ice skaters and imagining how the skate blades would look to imagined fish below in the imagined ice in the imagined painting in the imagined world of Erasmus Darwin—and indirectly imagining how Charles Darwin’s vision might have evolved from his grandfather’s imagination.
Perhaps they are stunned
by the strange heaven—dotted with
boot soles and chair legs
and are slumped on the mud-rich bottom—
waiting through time for a kind of shimmer,
an image perhaps, something
known and familiar, something
rushing above in their own likeness,
silver and blade-thin at the rim of the world.
Sometimes when imagination is fully realized, it seems there’s nothing more to ask of a poem. Any “epiphany” would be superfluous, as the simple act of immersing yourself so completely in the quiet winter of 1748 is already as meaningful and dramatic as, say, Juliet’s suicide: “This is thy sheath; there rust.”
who pursued the reflection of its fleeing prey
through three striations of greenhouse glass:
the arrow of its body cracking first into anteroom,
then desert, then the thick mist
of the fuchsias. It lay in a bloodshawl
of ruby flowers, while the petals of glass
on the brick-work floor repeated its image.
Again and again and again.
As all we have passed through sustains us.