Monthly Archives: November 2012

Orb

In which Carrie’s friend composes a poem about an inorganic object with organic implications…

Guest Post: Alexander Ellingworth

Orb

Something has been unexpectedly given to you,
a small cool weight, glassy and round
lying comfortably in your hand.

You feel it’s comfortable smooth surface
regular and predictable,
as it slowly warms to your touch,
and receives moisture from your skin.

Your hand tilts, and it rolls a little
across the cupped expanse, and then
rolls back, until it finds one of those small, safe creases
where your fingers and palm come together.

Your other hand comes over, intrigued,
and picks it up, with long fingers lifting the curved glass
– no longer cool but slightly heated now.
The eyes, too, want their turn discovering this new thing.

Held up, the murky glass exterior
slowly gives way to the eyes’ patient penetration.
Tiny lines tug at the edge of your vision,
daring you, it seems, to seek them out for closer view.

So lifted, the rounded contour fades from sight,
and something new attracts your vision.
Knifelike cracks slide back and forth, glinting,
each a crystalline wonder,
waiting only for the fine turn of your wrist
to leap into being, to leap into the light.

See me, they each say, see me.
I am bright.
See how I leap from here to there, touching
every point in between, and a thousand more
besides.

Can either eye hope to follow these shining, minuscule tracks?
Each one lying anxiously still for your view.
Colors, too, lie along those irregular surfaces,
flaring minutely along what once seemed monochrome,
a tiny rainbow scintillation playing quietly against each edge.

Your eyes close unexpectedly, a reflexive blink;
and the obscure globular whole returns, slipping from between your fingers,
falling heavily back into your palm.
Now thoroughly warmed,
all detail fled from your eye’s vision, reacting
to a moment’s unintended clumsiness.

Startled, your fingers reflexively close next,
And you feel the solid weight,
the small dent of a dull landing
in the cupped chamber of your half-closed fist.

You recall the simple, cool hardness with which it first presented itself to you.
But now it has become suddenly heavy, too heavy perhaps,
a hot weight which burns through hidden tendons and skin if too closely held.

Distressed, your fingers unfold,
holding it once more up to air and light.
It rolls unpredictably in your palm, moving freely,
warm and light again.
What made it so heavy?, you wonder,
From where did it acquire such heat?

Your eyes pull forward, eager to once chase out those straightly ramified lines,
But in the moment of your inattention something has changed;
what once seemed fixed and determined has become winding, coy, joyful,
and delicate whorls have taken the place of what was once sharp and linear.

Now you see us, they together say, and how we move.
Never the same way twice,
we dance.
Watch how we stride from here to there
passing over every point in between, landing only where
we wish.

Surely there is no way to comprehend this intricate structure?
Surely it is too much to hope for, that all of this could ever be reduced to
a single moment, a glance, or a carried hope?
You wonder for a moment whether this orb demands too much;
perhaps it would be better hidden, carried in a pocket.
Or safer yet, in a briefcase, toted around for special occasions
when one is dressed and groomed and others will do no more than glance
and nod sagaciously at the rare fineness of the thing.

What to do, then, with this unexpected gift?
Shall the fingers close, and together hold it tightly until it becomes too terrible to bear?
Shall the hand tuck it away, unobserved in some darkly secret or too-public place?
Or shall the eyes lose themselves in the observation of those delicate, ever-unfolding depths?

(Alexander Elllingworth lives in Beaverton with a family of four persons, as many cats, and three times as many fish.  His favorite occupation is hours-long conversation with those he holds dear.  He has studied various subjects in the pursuit of self, including philosophy and anthropology, and is now sufficiently mature to realize that art is the highest of all human pursuits.  He also believes that his favorite color is not red, but is open to having his mind changed about this.)

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