Mennonite Poetry Home | Larry Nightingale



Making the Rounds

At the Rodin exhibition
twinned timeless hours in a thoughtful round

You go on circling (in play of patina and shadow)
the circuits—the laps of the gallery may blur into slow-motion
hallucinatory ride on this apocalyptic groaning bronze-black carousel.
Loaded down with full compliment
of postmodern shades—citizens of any of your cities
here wearing Vancouver's rough elbows, shoulders, knees, necks, noses
nudging, craning in, leaning back, circling
for the greater dimensional view
Harried young mothers, squalling stinking babes in arms.
Neat giggling touring class, foreign-language exchange,
furious notation. Elderly couple—the shuffling old fellow in clogs
with arthritic limp and cane, his fiery-eyed lover with stumps for legs
in gleaming wheelchair. New Agers—hung with beads
and the moon and stars, reeking of patchouli tar. Any of them
neither worthy nor unworthy—potential sitters in our Master's studio.
Riders on this Rodin-go-round.
Even loud Michelangelesque businesswomen, one leaned with
elbow on sculpture's base, her flesh-pink purse sagging on Adam's black toes,
oblivious, them talking real estate

About the third go round may be
these two reappear, not somewhere muted behind the gates of Hell
but morphing in ardent postures of the kiss.
Even as the moms with infants all seem to reassemble, disembodied
collections of sculpted hands, ghostly-white
fragments—grasping or contemplative.
The troupe of young students, in the circle of hours, grown old
ennobled in stance and visage—wearing
the bronze-black masks of surrender, now the citizens of Calais.
The paraplegic woman on wheels, imposing
as the colossal Balzac giants. And her beautiful old gent, with limp,
with gap-tooth grin, pale morning sky eyes, inverted, tragically falling, falling
falling from the top lintel of Hell...

And I was them all

In centrifugal hold. The spin and the blur. Rough dark patination, lustre,
meta-chemistry of fired blues, greens, red ochres.
Naked, standing planted with fists thrust down, defying circumstance,
full anger about to burst, yet leaning balanced in the perfect swing and
sway, towering tall, towering in spirit, full presence with love's countenance,
craggy, discordant, booming out from the heavy cloak of space, time
and matter

You go on circling
laps may freeze into this timeless focus, a life's perfect round.
Maybe in such a full-stride moment-about the seventh circle
in our turbulent awkward beauty-we were moulded for our dazzling casts.
And heavier and lighter now, walk on.

© Larry Nightingale




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