William Bibby

Poetry

A Poem for August

Saturday, 1 Aug 2020

CLIO’S BREATH IN THE TIME OF COVID


Correcting an atomic clock gives us the present,
3 milliseconds, futures that don’t yet exist, and the
past 13.8 billion years of making such noise, manic
activity, sudden things, moons and endless collisions,
star signs and galaxies strewn like sesame seeds in
liquid glass, trapped but tearing each other apart at the
same time doing nothing in particular. You may think
of this as very Zen, an achievement, almost as though
History had retreated leaving us to gather our strengths
in isolation, in forgetfulness, an ideal that Dictators
confirm with their silence when pleading begins
because they wish to avoid their memories. The
perfect outcome for conquerors is that we have to be
content because we don’t how to be anything else.
And in that mood we met in a bar on Soul Street
understanding for the first time practical spirituality
(I cannot fault logic but it does not breathe) as a river
into which we can plunge that has two estuaries on
each coast an endless entrance and exit that clamours
and shifts pitched like the Doppler of an approaching
birth and receding noise of death, and when we
walked out into the night all we could hear were the
air service ambulances ferrying the suffocating
through oxygenated stratospheres to the wards.  








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