Updated: Mar 31
If I could stop the world turning, it would stop
now, and now, and now, and now, for ever.
Now squats unsettled on the growing pile of thens.
They’re pinned down; on top, now is always free.
I balance on this heap of ragged pasts in the wind,
teetering. They’re bloodied, ripped, their colours faded,
ghosts of nothing but themselves.
The pile judders, wobbles, threatens to fall.
I cling on to the top few layers,
long to prise out that hat, that silk, that velvet
from below, bring it back here, with me. But no.
Only as perfect in possibility as now.
Only as untangled in then as now.
Only as untethered, free, unlimited as now.
The poem title is from Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American writer and thinker. I discovered recently that he ended his life with dementia. This was before dementia was identified or medicalised. There are stories of him going on lecturing after most of his speech had gone, and somehow inhabiting the world of 'seemings' he'd written about earlier in his life.
I haven't written like this before. There's so much that's new.