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Behind the Waterfall

Once, when the word amorphous was a good way

to depict mind, and waterfall

was a good way of describing inspiration,

when every conglomerate of pumice held a face,

when clouds were zoos, when dreams were consultations,

she met a rock, cold and glossy black,

the way rocks are behind waterfalls, those who

in their gleaming immobility refuse to admit

that ten thousand years ago they might have been

perhaps slightly more pliable and that even theoretically

there could exist a smidgen of free floating beauty

in the world.


For a long while they stood there regarding each other

she of gossamer, he of sneer; look she said, I see

a face behind the waterfall, that cave a mouth

and inside lurks a demon.  The cave laughed, a rumbling.


Brave into the curtain if you dare, behind lie tree trunks,

creepers, crystalline formations are buried deep

within a tunnel that slopes down to a chamber

full of animals made of ice, palaces and spires, where

drop by drop over a million years you may observe

the wonders of the world as they are formed. Come,

brave the curtain, spend a moment of eternity’s clock

and I will show you how air turns into vapor,

breath into liquid, water into ice, how all solidifies

seemingly quiescent as if it always was.


I’d love that, she replied but unfortunately I cannot.

I have clouds to decipher, dreams to interpret, Jupiter is

in my fifth house  – and the griffins need to be fed.


The demon laughed again. Go then he rumbled. Return if

doubts distress you, should you feel the need for bedrock.

I’ll still be here behind the curtain, writing eternity’s

history drop by frozen drop.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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