In Situ

May 21, 2013

The catcalls persist, though the performance is over.
The stage is bare.
How can there be moonlight without the moon?
How can there be mountains without the night sky?
What are place-names for, without the place to name them?
The water that lies so deep in the ocean,
this calm that rests, but does not wait,
how can it be still and still be me?
Why does its spirit remain in place,
even though I try to flee?

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4 Responses to “In Situ”

  1. Anna Mark Says:

    It just seems so deeply experienced — felt.

  2. Anna Mark Says:

    I enjoy the questions, one after another. Immensely. And how the phrase, “the stage is bare” conjures all that the stage has held and will again hold. A bare stage is so temporary, isn’t it? And I enjoy all the things that are so inseparable, but these lines are quite shattering:

    The water that lies so deep in the ocean,
    this calm that rests, but does not wait,
    how can it be still and still be me?
    Why does its spirit remain in place,
    even though I try to flee?

    Wonderful. How can this be a slight poem? Sheesh.

  3. extrasimile Says:

    And ‘I’ almost succeeded. Years ago I had a friend who was given to proclaim: ‘the Atman is the Brahman’, which, to simplify enormously, translates as ‘my true self and the divine self are equivalent’. Rastafarians are given to referring to themselves as ‘I and I’, with a similar metaphysics behind it. So it’s perhaps fitting that ‘spirit’ has two I’s in it. Like simile. At first I thought to leave ‘sprit’ in situ, as it were (Would it be correct to say, ‘to leave “sprit” as it was, in situ, as it were’?)…but of course, it was just a typo.
    And yes, just ‘touching on’ (I hadn’t thought of it in just those words) the permanence we can but only slightly feel. Glancing at what we cannot see. Questioning what we cannot ask. A short, slight poem.

  4. John Stevens Says:

    You are touching here on the most basic things, aren’t you Jim? What remains in situ though Life moves on? Why must Life do that, and what if anything remains? Even, why is there Life at all? It’s all so very strange.
    By the way, in the penultimate line, an ‘i’ has escaped from ‘spirit’ … and yet I read the word first without noticing, as if the significant letter was still In Situ even though “I (sic) try to flee”.


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