Waiting for the Curtain
I had the announcement for Swallowing the World all ready to go, but decided to wait for the new moon to launch it. It was just a day and a half away, on a Tuesday. In agriculture (as in everything else) superstitions develop. An old one says for best results plant on the waxing moon. The book was already available on Amazon, but I hadn’t told anyone. Why not wait to “plant” awareness until after that new moon?
The unforeseen value of that decision was that suddenly nothing had to be done. A pause rolled in, an unplanned reflective retreat—two nights and the day between. I had nothing more to do and no one was asking any questions about it. I could knock around, tinker, and wonder.
The moment reminded me of one of my older poems. I could remember the feel, and a few lines, but I couldn’t remember the title: Deep breaths, relaxed and alert,/ the work approaching, the deluge--/or is it already complete? Are we finished--/simply waiting for the curtain,/ for what has been stored in potential/ to play out in release?
That’s the feeling I remembered. I’m tempted to call it “imminence” but it might more accurately be “immanence.”
The difference is a numinous quality, something mysterious, momentous, a glimpse of something vast and incomprehensible.
It’s a sense that everything is exactly as it should be but I don’t yet know what it is, what it’s for, or what it may demand of me.
I get this feeling a lot.
The day of waiting for the book to be announced led me to find the poem I was thinking of—and then to wonder why it wasn’t in the book. That led to one of those familiar creative dilemmas in which I questioned why other poems were in the book. Which led to the recognition that it’s all exactly as it should be. Let’s see what happens.
The unpublished poem is called “Way of Being.”
WAY OF BEING
The way thunder tumbles,
a train coming on a warm evening
carrying heavy rain:
with shelter near we languish, nuzzling
the luxury of all that fluid change--
at hand, but not on us yet.
Deep breaths, relaxed and alert,
the work approaching, the deluge--
or is it already complete? Are we finished--
simply waiting for the curtain,
for what has been stored in potential
to play out in release?
Anchor cut, the ship
its own power and that of the sea--
into the realm of wind shifts
and rogue waves; the barrier between
life and death more porous. Tears
beginning, live emotion, the thrill
of grief as reptile-brain recalls
all the ways of destruction
as near at hand as those of salvation.
And yet we stand—somewhere between--
in the moment we've always dreamed of:
focus of habit under wraps, fear finally
two levels down, wonder driving the bus.
No need to contribute
to retirement or fasten
seat-belts—this passage worth
far more than old age or another
string of red-veined sunsets repeating
over Tahiti's ocean—this once
we let ourselves be, and be, and be.