Tim Miller

The Grove, from To the House of the Sun, Book 32

& at a small grove, I saw people standing high in trees:
& each of them had bows & an endless cache of arrows:
& they each took turns shooting them at a different part of the sky:
& the arrows of those who’d just begun this seemed to disappear into the sky, so that I       couldn’t see them anymore—
but those who’d been at this longer proved something else:
& they shot one arrow into the previous arrow:
& another into that:
& I saw a speck in the distant sky beginning, where all these arrows had stuck—
& I saw those who’d been at this even longer,
  whose chain of arrows was quite long:
   & I saw those who’d been at this even longer,
  whose chain of arrows nearly reached them:
   & I saw the luckiest ones
  whose chain of arrows was complete—
   & they were already climbing across it
   & heading for the clouds:
 

The Mountain, from To the House of the Sun, Book 33

& the mountain I ascended came from heaven:
& the rock I walked on broke away once long ago from the vault of heaven—
& so as I walked, I was walking on heaven:

& a night passed, into morning:
  & the morning star
   drew beauty from the sun
  as the morning star
   drew the sun up from its sleep:

& as I walked, I realized even though it wasn’t the highest mountain I’d ever seen, it was this mountain that would never be covered, when another flood should come, when the waters would swell again upon the earth:

& I knew the stone I found my steps on, was a place that could never be submerged:
& as I walked, I watched the peaks of that place spar with the sun—
& as I walked, I was walking on heaven:

& as I walked, I didn’t have the sensation of walking:
& there was no difference between managing the steepest incline, & a flat path:
& the way up & was the way down:
& there was no difficulty & no ease—I simply moved:

& as I moved, I climbed but never got tired: & as I moved, I crawled or I squeezed between sharp stones—but no energy was spent as I did this: & no fatigue drained me as I went—& I never stopped to rest: I never stopped for anything: I was only aware of my prayer—& my easy ascent was no more strange than the stream that fell from the mountain’s top—& as I went, I was walking on heaven:

& all down below, were the many worshippers I’d seen on the ground: & now I was as high as many in the highest trees: & in their ecstasies, they still saw & took the moment to give of themselves to me, with their looks:

& as I climbed, it was as if my feet never touched the mountain: & no rocks or dust of stone were ever disturbed by my feet: & it seemed as I went higher, that I wasn’t moving at all—

  perhaps I was still,
   & it was the mountain that moved:
  perhaps I was still,
   & it was only my mind that moved:
  perhaps I was still
   & the mountain was still
   & the entire world was still:
  perhaps all things were still,
   & only some greater glory made all this stillness
   appear as movement,
   & all this movement appear as stillness—
  & as I climbed I asked myself
   What have I left undone:
   
 what else should I have undertaken:
  & as I climbed I said
         Nothing:

 

 

 

 

Tim Miller’s other poetry, and his blog, are at www.wordandsilence.com. His next collection, Book of the Sky & Hymns & Lamentations, will be released later this year.

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