Monday, November 25, 2013

"The veils"

The light that shuts is still the light—
which is what? The bulb, the socket,
the meeting of wires and current—
the switch, the Tinkerbelle faceplate—
the concentrated heat, the shine—

the cloud of rays that radiates—
the objects upon which they bounce—
the eyes that absorb all those glints—
the mind that somehow pronounces
-gh- as a silent switch making lit

long? How do we divide what counts
as off or on? The room goes dark
while outside comet-eyed cats pounce
on each other with fearsome yowls.
Now the light is on for those cats—

and for the bugs under the hose.
The veils move like nothing we know.


  1. Well -- I returned to find my comment missing, so I'll try again. I read your poem when you first posted it, Daniel, and I still haven't forgotten the lines, "the mind that somehow pronounces/ -gh- as a silent switch making lit / long?" That's quite an accomplishment, considering I'm known as the person who cannot memorize anything. Also loved the "comet-eyed cats," and all your other questions and images. Thanks!

  2. Daniel, I know about the harm for astronomers of all the lit night habits of urban humans. This poem helps me savor the more esoteric/liminal aspects of this loss and its cultural resonances.

    A thought, I know it might not work with the form, yet what about "The veils move like nothing known." If so, the we fades and the veils foreground? Just a language blip...

    I like the veils plural, this feels important in more than one way. What can I say, except Thank you.

  3. "The veils flutter like nothing known."
    I like your idea for revision, Scooter. Just getting the right 2-syllable replacement for "move." Flutter seems good...