Essay on Light
Light expatiates upon itself,
slicks candlesticks, laps glass and plunders lenses
indulgently, becoming York or Chartres,
is spectrally prismatic in the rain,
ethereal in neon as it hums
the untold names of God. A tumbler
of it will give you everything you need
to fabricate the sky. It mocks the speed
of memory and has its own tall house
that looks like chalk or dusty ivory.
The carbon hearts of crystal Fabergé
glister with its nothingness, its thin
infinity. And when it comes to you,
you rise up from it, as if from a bath,
your shining skin like plates of hammered zinc,
gleaming and lucent. It pools inside the eyes
of cows. It dreams in trees. It jewels beetles.
As if that wasn’t all, it is the whole
of everything; where it is not is something
else. It seems it cannot be destroyed.
The afterglow of copulating angels
in stars and scratchy skylights. Let it be.
If poetry is the condition of language before thought.
If it is not that exactly.
If what was said could be shown conclusively not to matter.
If the feeling is akin to some sort of avalanche in the mind.
If it was never a question of miscalculation or error.
If it was rather a question of the all-pervading conditionals.
If the rain is decisive, unceasing, like stair-rods, like rain.
If the day is not wholly differentiated from the night.
If the light that trod softly the tops of the trees is now failing.
If the horror of one exceeds the horror of many.
If you spent the morning watching rooftops drying in sunlight.
If the dog on a leash in the park is a dog in italics.
If italic is the chosen typeface of emphasis.
If Freud was right pretty much all of the time.
If the allure of the world is no more than the allure of allure.
If none of this applies.
If there is no allure.
If the treachery is not yours but the treachery of language.
If this sort of reasoning is shown to be palpably false.
If the rain is the rain is the rain is the rain is the rain.
If, as a matter of fact, it isn’t raining at all.
If, as it turns out, it is relentlessly clear.
If the poem is a tiny escape hatch into the world.
Copyright © C.J. Allen, 2011