Guest Poet John Slattery

The World within the World

Silence speaks deeply here.
Its ancient voice pierces the vision
assaulting the mind, exalting and humbling the spirit
with messages that can be felt, not heard
that overturn our firmest certainties
and make illusions of the heart's desire.

Ghosts clothed in stone, time's sentinels,
guard this gateway to eternity
unmoved, still ever moving,
changing as the shadows shift, as the earth turns, as the seasons pass,
endlessly altering, always the same.

This is the world within the world,
the place where awful secrets are disclosed
and promises made long ago fulfilled,
the place of monstrous beauty and of waking dreams,
the end and the beginning of our search,
the heaven and the hell inside us all.

There is no leaving here
for when you try to go, each road leads back.
In other, distant lands, a half-seen shape,
how sunlight strikes a rock, a certain hush
will strip appearances away
and suddenly reveal what lies beneath.

August, 2000

John Slattery's Questions:

I have some doubts about the meter - its irregularity. Do I need to make it more regular?

Are some of the phrases - e.g. " heart's desire "; " the end and the beginning of our search "; " the heaven and the hell within us all "; " what lies beneath " - borderline cliches ( or across the border )?

Are my descriptions too abstract? Do I need more physical detail?

Thank you very much.

The Albany Poetry Workshop