From Theory To Pulse

Church of St Etienne du Mont, Paris
Because that force through green fuse drives all flowers
(which we would call the greater force, or God, or minor gods)
and gathers in a place like this — things gather, here and there —
then it’s a good place to come to sit a while, though
the first postulate of relativity, and I believe it, says to me
there’s no such thing as place. But here I am. It’s nice to sit a while.
Protect me, then, in the gathering up, in the going away.
The gargoyles do the warding off, the message gets projected
through the spires. That’s the theory. Sounds beautiful
to me. Okay. So you know nothing about anything
except what you recognise as instance, as kindred appearance.
Suffering, then. And then compassion. There are older agonies
than churches. You go home exhausted in the middle of the day.
Sunlight floods the apartment. The turtle dozes by the window,
more solemn than a thousand cats. You lie down,
place her on your chest. For two hours she stares at you
and feels your heart move her shell. Older agonies.
You are as little as you could be. Protect me — why?
No need. The turtle, mute, knows nothing too. That force
that through your black heart pumps conjoins the turtle here.
Of her own will she is still and yet at eighty-four beats per minute
you watch her body make that tiny jolt ten thousand and eighty times.
We’ll all be dead. And very soon. And yet unblackening is relief.
The diamond glint in the ancient eye. Small suffering joins
with the greater that of the ages of blood. Agonies of evolution
and beyond that, as always, geology. The lilac knows nothing of this.

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