The Last Glimmer

The bubble dances in iridescent
Splendor, leaping among the playful puffs
Of a slight breeze. Its bright surface ripples
With a sparkling sheen of swirling colors,
A fragile shell born from an uncertain,
Gay birth. It wonders like an innocent
Child, bounding through the day's light enchanted,
In happy contentment. In this garden,
It lazily twirls among the flowers
And leaves, and prances with birds & bees.
Then, as from mysterious circumstance,
A strong gust ravishes sudden upon
The fey sphere, tossing it in wild loops down.
Spinning, reeling it glides across the green
Grass, still laden with morning's silvery dew.
The bubble bounces once, then twice, before
A second gust throws it among verdant
Blades. Pierced, it bursts.

I stagger shocked, the event's suddenness
Consumes like a great explosion of fire.
As quick as it came, the shock is over,
Leaving a dull numbness ever fading;
A slowness that lengthens as the event
Recedes further away. Looking up, I
See only ruin--a dank wasteland devoid
Of life. Among charred jagged shapes, a smoked-
Stench haze lays across the ground like a grey
Veil, while thin tendrils of smoke rise like pale
Wraiths. Finally, a single sigh, long drawn
And deep, rises ‘lorn with bitterness. It
Exhausts in grief, silent echoes springing
In vicarious ripples expanding
Interwoven, as upon a glassy
Lake under a late morning sky. They spread
'Tween my heart & mind in languish to grow
Insurmountable in search of relief.
Many scenes, acts, dramas played, I upon
Tragedy or love won this tale of blight
Not yet done...

Could you walk with me beyond this garden
Gate of misty memories wrought, to pass
The frail bounds of real and tour my waking
Dream. In silence, we may yet steal away
The night's drear lot, and with hope chance upon
That hidden light unbounded. Such a world
Is captured by a tear, wrapped with grief, welled
Up surrounded like a world caught within
An eye's lens. It trails itself wet upon
A pallid cheek to pass upon, almost
Meek, the trembling lip, and then bends around
The soft curve to taste. Oh, how this moisture
Of a glorious tang ravishes Life's
Festal dream! This grief should pass as a tear,
Rolling to fall, and recall a moment
Ripe to surpass the blinding memory
Of loss. This wat'ry Pearl! How it wobbles
Graceful, falling to split into a crown
Of beads, glossing a hand stretched forth, and puddles
In poignant contour. Yet this much have I
Given in languor.

I have looked with furtive glances in dark
Corners afraid, yea even those places
Terrifying; a fray of tiny mad
Thoughts plying lances of slight suffering
To my soul's warmth. They are an impudent
Host of imps crowding gleeful, herding me
To a hot hell fear-full. With pasty grey
Bald heads streaked with hues red and green; large white
Infernal eyes shaded by a bushy
Brow; twisted teeth flash with outrageous flare,
Then hide within the folds of a sneering
Grin; little wings quiver upon a dun
Hunched back while a thin sinuous barbed tail
Coils; but most alarming is its calloused
Hands, long and delicate, rubbing in glee
Delightful, yet chilling reminiscent
Of a washing, as if stained with blood, tears,
And pain. Torturous flames whisper & roar
To the ninth hour, sapping the sacred
Solace of life's ardent retreat. Yet hell's
Hot becomes the furnace of a single
Flame, dimmed by a rocking censer's rhythmic
Rush. It is held swaying by a golden
Chain, like a pendulum mesmerizing,
Gently clasped in hands hidden in the cuffs
Of billowy sleeves. Each second is marked
At the swing's peak with slight puffs of smoke thrown
From the burning incense through narrow slits,
Giving a smell of such beauty it pains
The heart. Passing, the shrouded mourners move
On, a procession clothed in burdensome
Black robes; they chant, moan, and sway with a strained
Gait. The path is treaded and worn; pitted
With holes, rent uneven--scarred. Yet given
A causal chance to choose better, a new
Path, that I may return to my paradise.

I alight from a low rise onto cool
Shoreline sand smoothly pristine. This small step
Is a singular signal to awake
From a mind hid, too enraptured upon
Its own sufferance to find an ease.
From the step, I stand still with arms out-stretched
At the sides; a breeze caresses my face
Held proud. The moment rises loft'ly high
Within. It builds, mounting from a rolling
Wake, as a wave; rippled surface ruffles,
Reflecting a vast sky and setting sun
Like a sparkling emerald's many facets.
A power, like mighty muscles bunching
Set to spring forth, rolls back building upon
The momentum. Playful winds whip the wave
Into a heaving swell, tossing a fine
Spray of opalescent beads falling out,
Spattered into scores of tiny ringlets.
The wave moves on, rising into a crest
Once it feels the drag of a shoal's sandy
Bottom. All of its weary weight is thrown
Into a glassy wall streaked with verdant
Hues, glowing through its thinning wat’ry veil
From the sun's splendour. In foamy candour,
The wave breaks, crashing upon the seashore
In a cadence of roiling white froth pure.

Such is to be born again when the choice
Is made at the expense of past burdens.
Upon the soft sand, each step molds ripples,
Marking my path. Its voice is the whisp'ring
Grind of grains, rubbing each other in warm
Company. I find this velour expanse
Sings a vatic vision reminding me
Of a spirit benign. Stepping forward
With a confident trance, I live the dream
Of an unfettered man. The gift to you,
O Woman, is like unto it. Let us
Return together, I at your side, you
At mine, and create a union as did
The aeons of Light. Soon the moment comes
To finally close with a brilliant
Flare, as the redden orb, iridescent
Halo flaring, passes quickly the thin
Infinite horizon. A final gleam,
The last glimmer, a darkened azure hue
Races from the East to catch the fleeting
Reds arrayed in pastel tints and creamy
Mixtures. It sheds white sparks to give the night
Sky an intense depth enriched as a hoard
Of diamonds. The dream of man rests peaceful.
My hope I look upon with a destined
Eye mature, and these silent echoes sent
Are a joyous laughter spreading rejoined;
A heart and mind united; a single
Sphere shining alone as a bright beacon.

Notes: Composed in 1996, the Last Glimmer is the final poem in the three part arc that began with Let the Angel Soar and continued in From the Stillness. The goal of this poem is to show the circular dynamic of innocence passing through loss into experience and through growth into transcendence. Focus is on visual description with each line 10 syllables long. Photo by 贝莉儿.