Who could fault us? Who could knock us — exquisite miracles of evolution with a wilderness of consciousness compacted into a modest mammalian skull with a limited cognitive capacity — for being so staggered and stupefied by the knowledge that everything we have ever known and loved and warred over, every axon of every neuron of every mind doing the knowing, along with the mosquito and the moons of Saturn, the neutrino and Andromeda, all?
If lucky, humble, and awake enough, we might carve our confusion intoMostly, we weblink in half-comprehending astonishment at the edge of terror — a consciousness as symphonic as ours cannot contemplate without a haunting awareness of the end of time, for we know that every conception presupposes an end. We know with a mute creaturely knowledge and spend our complex and antagonisms.
Everythingeach love, each life, the universe itself. The succulent dream of eternity is kenneled with the hard fact that in a mere four billion years, the Sun — this familiar star whose modest yellow kissed us into being amid the rude blankness of pure spacetime — will spin into its final collapse and take with it every mitochondrion and every trace of Beethoven. Who could fault us, then, for shuddering at the knowledge that all of it — all that glorious everythingness into the void?
Against this backdrop of awareness, the task and triumph of life are to find our answer, private and pliant, to the bellowing question of what confers meaning and beauty upon our ephemeral existence — which is what Vermont poet laureate Mary Ruefle offers with uncommon splendor of sentiment and image in her poem “Kiss of the Sun,” found in her altogether ravishing( ).
Poetry entered my life relatively late along its finite trajectory via my dear friend, who has since returned to the void. It has remained a friendship common, a place to gather with of why we are here for as long as we share this incredible gift of aliveness. No more present or kindred in this poetic adventure than . We began on poems together in public between songs at Amanda’s shows nearly a decade ago. As our lives shape-shifted, as the world shape-shifted, we : poetry, a metronome of friendship, poems, atoms of time, and bits of trust. And so, I have entrusted Amanda with breathing voice into Mary Ruefle’s gorgeous existential exhale of a poem.
KISS OF THE SUN
by Mary Ruefle
If, as they
among people, then let this be prearranged now,
between us, while we are still people: that
at the end of time, which is also the end of poetry
(and wheat and evil and insects and love),
when the race gathers in the flesh,
reconstituted down to the infant’s tiniest fold
and littlest nail, I will be standing at the edge
of that fathomless crowd with an orange for you,
reconstituted down to its innermost seed protected
by a white thread, in case you are thirsty, which
does not at this seem like such a wild guess,
and though there will be no poetry between us then,
at the end of time, the geese are all gone with the seas,
I hope you will take it, and remember, on earth
I did not know how to touch it. It was all so raw,
and if, by chance, there is no edge to the crowd
or anything else so that I am of it,
I will take the orange and toss it as high as I can.
Complement with Ruefle onand her , then revisit Ursula K. Le Guin’s and physicist Brian Greene’s .