An Authority on These Things


An Authority on These Things

Be petty in
your enjoyments–
no breath too trivial,
to be now’s all–

Ask your death,
perched so unlike
Poe’s raven–always,
in your little-bit-more–
not on a dark mantel
but as a dark mantle,
collaring the shine
in your forehead,
(though you keep yourself careless
of its close fold)–

ask it–that, that contains
the shine in you, where
your light
should be cast–

If you take the trouble,
turn to your death,
you will not long wait
a reply–


Very much a draft poem posted very belatedly for Margaret Bednar’s post on vases on With Real Toads.  The photo was taken by Margaret Bednar at the Brooklyn Museum and all rights belong to Margaret.  

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10 Comments on “An Authority on These Things”

  1. Polly Says:

    I like the philosophy and reverence in this k.

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    So much is kept hidden in those folds–and do we really want to iron them out and see? What, I wonder will it tell us if we ask–everything, or nothing? But it’s important to ask where the light should go, just as it is to understand that we are mortal, mantled in another future besides the one in which we breathe. Love the softness of the referentials here– Poe and life itself shining–like the cloth of a very comfortable cloak indeed.

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    Such an intriguing interpretation, Karin.

    ask it–that, that contains
    the shine in you, where
    your light
    should be cast–

    This is a question I will contemplating for the remainder of the day.

  4. Oh this was worth several reads, the mantel mantle, is like a cloak of the reaper.. Maybe asking would be the best thing, and it got me thinking about the chess-play in the seventh seal…

  5. “No breath too trivial to be now’s all” – that is rather brilliant, kiddo! I really love the lines about asking “that that should contain the shine in you, where your light should be cast.”

  6. “ask it–that, that contains
    the shine in you, where
    your light
    should be cast”

    We are always grumbling about our darkness…I love how you turn it around to asking where the light is in us.

  7. M Says:

    it’s that turn that is the trick ~

  8. So precariously we are perched in life… quite like this pottery. To think some are as old as they are… and still vessels that could be used. Our light indeed – ask where it should shine. I so like that concept. (sorry it took so long to visit and comment)

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