Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"And her marvelous stars expand"

I was floating on a raft with a half-full beer can in my hand. When I leaned my head back the tree branches and leaves mimicked the expanse of the stars. It was like they shared a set of opening wings. Of course, it could have been the beer...

"And her marvelous stars expand."

That's a line from Pablo Neruda. It opens itself up from within, "Residence on Earth," a book/extended meditation/extended poem that he wrote over the course of 20 years (1925-1945). He stopped writing it the year my mom was born.

But the night stars expanded this morning, when I read it, 65-plus years later. And they expanded back to last week, floating in the pool, thinking that same thing, but without giving it words, just awe, and a mental note.

Maybe Neruda is a time traveler, knowing that it might take him 20 years to let go of his poem, but that with it, its utterance, he might travel across decades or centuries.

Maybe it's just a service of the stars, flinging themselves out across the sky each night, like so much sand from a child's plastic shovel,

And by realizing that the stars are so much shovel-flung sand, and giving ourselves that scale in the scheme of things, we see that, smaller than sand, we can stand shoulder to shoulder with Neruda, separated by only a half-century, which is what, really?

Yeah, Neruda is a time traveler. He uses the stars, which he steps on, as they expand. But maybe it's the beer...

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