Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Test

Bearing witness to the absence
In the presence of the humans,

That’s the burden of these phrases,
The story of what wasn’t imeind

In what was, or was remembered,
Like Algernon Blackwood’s island

Campsite among windy, sandy
Clumps of the Danube’s dwarf willows,

Which he worked so hard to render
More than just spooky in affect,

More actively alien, weird
In that transgressive human way

That involves corpses and monsters,
A malevolent otherness

As if something really happened
More than one windy night’s camping,

Grist for gusty, outdoorsy prose
In an adventure magazine.

When something really does happen,
Something awfully othering,

Usually it’s just the humans
Swiftly each other othering.

The monster only bears witness
And then glides off through the river,

Given an honest witnessing
Embodies no testifying.

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