CATARACTS IN THE EYE
for April, when she’s crying
Cataracts in the eye,
flowers in the sky.
Or is it
cataracts in the sky,
flowers in your eye?
painting your window
won’t clarify the view.
Just leave things as they are
without any more worry
and let the starmud settle in the pond
so the sky can get on with its clouds.
You can understand everything at a glance
if you touch it lightly with your eyes and heart.
But the moment you start to stare
deeply into the well
to see if anyone’s there, kerplunk,
you’re a lost penny
looking for something to wish for
or you break off like a key in your own door.
And you’re free
to consider your life a mistake
or even more mistakenly,
successful and correct,
but the trees don’t know
what you’re talking about
when they’re busy burning their leaves,
and water isn’t a failure of snow
when the crocuses begin to break through.
The winners do their crying out loud in crowds;
The losers cry alone at home in their rooms.
They both get wet.
They both ruin their makeup.
You keep advising yourself
like the Summa Theologica
to reconcile reason with God
who never wears the same church twice
in a world whose only holy cornerstone is change.
You can’t factor yourself out of the truth
and turn your philosophy into a formula
when you are the truth
of what you’re looking for.
Everything seeks itself in this life
like the continuity of flowing water
that is everywhere at home
in all its forms like the moon
but the rain isn’t looking for flowers
when it falls
and the wounded apple-tree in the sunlight
isn’t making mystic amends
by bleeding from all of its boughs.
Is it fair to be you; is it unfair?
Have you been weeding a mirage for years
and wondered why no one,
not even the wind,
ever stops by for a drink?
Seeing your reflection
on the surface of a delusion
might be what you look like
but it isn’t what you think
no matter how long you wait
for high tide in the mirror
to unscroll you like a sail.
The earth isn’t a planet,
it’s an eye that’s as blue by day
as the sea
and as black by night
as the sky
and it’s never seen its own likeness
except as stars and trees,
and the darkness in between,
irises by the river
and robes of snow on the mountaintops.
Is your eye bad
when it looks upon the obscene
when it spots a beauty queen?
Bad meat down the well
clowning with stars,
there’s no sour or sweet to your eyes
just as water and space
aren’t maimed or enhanced
by what they embrace
because your mind
is not conditioned by form
anymore than the nature
of water or blood is
by the rut it runs in.
Your seeing can be a sin.
Your seeing can be a blessing.
You can grow large and mercurial
or small and focussed
at both ends of the telescope
and witness the abundance of despair
in a famine of hope
and like empty words
eat the air,
or dancing on the eye of a lense
like a gnat above the water
agitate the fish to jump for the moon.
So which eye’s the winner;
which eye’s the loser
crossing the finish line of your nose
when they both run backwards
in opposite directions
as you so blithely suppose?
You can be a big beginning with a small end,
or a big end with a small beginning.
The first is what you will turn out to be.
The second is what you are.
Make a road of your own walking one night
through an open field,
then stop and look up
and ask any star.