While Ivan is off taking an awesome Philosophy of Nature course that meets in the woods far from human habitation, I thought I’d share a poem I wrote back when I was in that class. Hey, he started it. I composed this while looking over Gold Lake in the Oregon Cascades one morning almost exactly two years ago.
The water membrane just before sun:
A hundred strips of emerald hue
Bounced each into existence, and grew.
Like rubber, they snapped back and were done.
The ripple-slopes, reflecting the trees!
But only for ephemeral winks.
Each worm-blob first emerges, then shrinks,
And disappears with frightening ease.
For when the ripple passes from where
Its gentle angle catches the green,
The image that distinctly was seen
Evaporates like mist to the air.
Illusions, these. Mere tricks of the eye.
No verdant bands arrive on wind’s breath.
Yet how like us in birth, growth, and death;
What kind reminders that I will die!
Or is this “I” a similar fake?
We’re atoms all; the borders we feel
Between the world and self are as real
As shattered mirrored firs on the lake.
That fallen log, that lichen and frost,
Though I may sense I’m severed from those,
Beneath the surface, one water flows
And ripples swell behind ripples lost.
Each dancing life, immaculate, new,
Seems sadly brief this brightening dawn.
The light deceives us: nothing is gone.
The lake remains. The ripples do, too.