Wednesday, March 03, 2010

RWP -- The Doppler Effect



The Doppler Effect


"Uber das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne"

("Concerning the colored light of double stars and other stars of the heavens.")
--Christian Doppler


Centered in the doorway, you stand where a window
Looks two ways: one way the hours swarm into blue,
Colliding like dominoes, piling up like old newspapers
On the porch. The other way the minutes retreat
Like beads on a broken string. Even the seconds
Are strangers speeding away, shifting toward red.

As you wait, entire universes are conceived and destroyed.
There, on the blue side, your mother's body
Has swallowed a seed, and shaped you from air.
A girl with freckles on her lips.
There, on the red side, your eight grandchildren
Hustle toward a future you cannot begin to imagine.

And you. You touch with care wherever the pain is worst:
Your eyes, your neck, your heart. You notice only now
That the window has become a mirror, and the doorway
Is shelter. Shifting now into red,
Your mother walks up behind you, slips you a chocolate
As she passes by. Your grandchildren's soft,
Unfinished baby skeletons tumble faster and farther
Away. And this moment, the Present melting in your mouth,
Is all you need.


(art by H. Koppdelaney)

7 comments:

slickdpdx said...

Yay! Something new. And good, too!

Paul Oakley said...

This is very nice, Joyce! I especially like these lines:

As you wait, entire universes are conceived and destroyed.
There, on the blue side, your mother's body
Has swallowed a seed, and shaped you from air.

Kay McKenzie Cooke. said...

Joyce - that is just so heart-wrenchingly good! I know those feelings - in the middle of time, caught between the past and the future but still very much in the present. You have described it with an exquisite power. Love it!

momA said...

Joyce that was so good! Talk about talent!

James said...

Nice job capturing that feeling of lingering between past and future in a present fraught with significance. I really like the way you used the red/blue shifts to color the poem.

briarcat said...

The older I get, the slipperier the concept of time becomes. What you have done with the shifts is a gem. (mother with the chocolate is an especially nice touch)

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Thanks to everybody who came by and left a comment! It's appreciated!