Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Subjective Reverse

Under the right conditions,
We’ll believe we haven’t done
Yet what we’ve already done.

That’s neuroscience,
Not a poetic fancy,
Although it’s pretty fancy
Science, come to think of it.

I left my favorite bench
Beside the bright lake, I said,
Because I wanted
To look for another poem.

But when I got to the new
Bench, up higher, by the creek,
I saw that it already
Displayed a poem of its own:

“Sedges have edges
And rushes are round.
Grasses are hollow
And cover the ground.”

Well-made doggerel
Like that is more difficult,
More memorable,
Than your average high-brow poem,

As an arrowhead
Chipped out of stone, sharp enough
To pierce a beast’s heart
Takes more art than most sculptures.

I decided that one day,
I would be myself again,
And sharpen some doggerel
Usefully irrelevant.

Then, like a subject
In a timed experiment
I realized, too late,
What I intended

Had already happened, fooled
By simultaneity,
Or rather, my sense of it.
I tried to halt myself, but

Because I couldn’t help it,
And because I had
Already done it,
I reversed the verse.

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