Unexpectedly today there was a sky -
an unobstructed view of God’s own blue
and below, dun-colored clouds misplaced
and burgeoning: clouds birthing, becoming
covers roiling in dense and restless rosettes
of rage under a sky scarcely distressed
but for a fulsome plume of corruption climbing
to almost spoil the scene.

Below, a din subscribed to the cataract site.
From the sphere of chaos, rumble of tumbling
concrete, peals of yielding steel, confusion of
voices, cries invoking all available gods.  “No!”
The certainty of divine bumbling: “No, God, No!”
Urgencies of scuffling feet, grunting gouts of
breath as of running.  And reliably consonant,
sirens keening to the clack of bursting hearts.

Soon, through ambivalent strands of clarity,
a grudging view of grave men standing where
they should not.  Brave men in broad hats,
water-shedding brims catching snows of ashes,
men shaking bowed heads in the glutinous light,
sharing a wisdom wanting denial.  They know.
Yet, while knowing, go where they should not,
as if having been called there only to go there.

Water-shedding brims shade eyes possessed,
peering through soot-covered lids.  Good men
embrace astonished wanderers, leading them,
while knowing no place is far enough away.
An unexpected silence rears without reason,
and in the shapeless stillness, whispered
weeping.  Sirens are the silence and the picture.
At last a nothingness quite clearly viewed.

An Unobstructed View (Tuesday, September 11, 2001)

(from “To Laughter With Questions: Poetry by Shelley Berman”)

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