Behind: The unrecognised sublime

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“Awe and terror have a fine defining border. Nothing captures this more for me than the sea.  Every time my eyes reach for the horizon they are confronted with its impossibility: the truth of my own limitation in the face of ambition.  As I think on it, the waves break forth and the reality of a depth that surpasses the visible distance in scope terrifies. Indeed I’m once more a spec,  not even of as much consequence as the wind blown drop nestling on my eyelash. Before is beyond and I thirst for it hoping it would be my becoming.

The trouble is, this terror ahead – this awe – conceals by its drawing of my attention the truth of the vastness behind. I suppose this is the curse of ambition: never really taking stock of the unmastered past.  The land that my eyes ignore isn’t covered in my footprints yet has contributed more to my foundations than the seas with all their potential can”.

He draws breath. Scratches his head and pauses.

“I cut my hair bald for a decade.” The words emerge from darkness and disappear, like headlights on a country lane.

“I wonder what happened to them.  The faces that like my childhood memories irregularly haunt: showing up to confront what’s before in violent eruptions; claiming authority over the present; branding the eye; calling false all that is and is to come;  and howling as the wind blows them away – back into the abyss we share”.

A breath intentionally drawn once again.

“There are terrors both ways; awe both ways. One must turn his back to the seas now and again. To bask in the unrecognized sublime”.

Poetry 027: Gull

It baffled me to see gulls
this far in, away from the sea.
Probably as much as it did him
to see me – a man of colour –
this far from the metropolis.

I wonder whether
He thought it a hunger –
similar to that
of my winged counterparts –
that had led me to sing
Away from ‘home’,
and not the Love
Whose white hands I cling.

© Denis Adide 2012

Poetry 024: Snowdon

Today the sun shines
And I can see the roof
Of our solitary mount.

I kiss its merry heights,
Pivots for our memories
And joints for our delights.

I see the snow that
Like fresh water-lilies
Speaks of our love

The hillside meadows
Peppered with sheep
Like spots of time,

And in a daydream,
leap from the cliffs
And soar.

For that brief moment,
Heaven bows,
And I am not alone

The wind whispers in
Scents fresh, almost old,
Never forgotten,

And the little droplets
Ferried by the breeze
Soft upon my naked skin

Feel like a touch
Faint and free, almost cold,
Not forgotten

It’s like your warmth floats
With me, over the downs
Toward the open sea

From whose horizon
The assailing clouds rise
Barring me from the sunset.

When for night again,
You away, and I –
To silence – return

From the invisible hills,
With curtains drawn to sleep,
Missing you.

© Denis Adide 2010