In a few short weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's 2004, we bid a fond farewell to my 101-year old grandmother Madeleine and prepared to welcome my first nephew into the world. I have struggled these past several years with grandmom's faded memory, but I hold all of our memories together close, and there are lots of them from the not-so-distant past as well as childhood. She inspired her only grandson to write "When the Maples Turn" on Beyond Borders, and in her passing I find myself trying to contemplate all of things that we cannot know or see. It is always a mystery how the circle tends to complete itself.
We do not understand mothlight
the flicker that draws
the nightwing to its death
Nor do we know the mysteries of our own mind
once it surrenders memory
and simply dwells in an altered consciousness
until the shell yields
We do not know the freshest thoughts
upon emergence from the great ocean womb
behind the wrinkled forehead and screamscowl of first breath
the neurons and synapses fire
but their content is unknown to us
We guess, and interpret,
and trust instinct
but the facts remain
It is too easy to see our world
as we perceive it
conscious in our realm
and we think what a great gift it is
For indeed that is so
but we extend and bend
applying that windowslice of consciousness
like some crocheted sampler
trying to blanket
the entire world
animal and insect kingdom
That one size of consciousness
somehow covers and fits all
and its neatness would give us comfort
Remaining ignorant or steadfast against
the mysteries that simply are
We apply all that we know and feel
and interpret everything else
through its lens
But what might lie beyond our sight and sense?
Does the moth see God
as his wings explode into flame?
Does he feel great peace as he slips
the burdensome night?
Do we have any way to know
the portals and boundaries
that guide us to and from this gifted
Can we say certain
that all is as we see it?
Or just that we see
just as we see it
and no more?