At the observatory


It is the place where, without admixture or confusion, all the places of the world,

seen from every angle, coexist. — J L Borges, The Aleph

 

 

From this height everything seems clear

as if everything starting afresh.

Everything encased in one glance. Trees all hushed after the rain. The birds.

The soft blue mountains.

 

Bog people are sleeping beneath these layers.

An arm-ring in the evening light, a decayed rope, a metal coin,

all ringing in a strange silent space,

except their bodies which are merged in the mire.

 

At the horizon the smoke rises, a somnolent sound fills the valley.

I hear an ancient tune – partly recognizable, partly unfamiliar.

Then the mild glow of the observatory, its domes, make me present.

And I realize a man is always divided – into the past and future, up and beneath.

 

And at the same time, everything continues to coexist, still always at a certain distance, not so near that you can grasp, not so far that you can ignore.

 

Near this sea, once the village of Tollund man would have felt the green glow on their skins, reflection of the universe on the clear beach.

Now a city, a lighted visage, is showing the sounds of the screeching planes,

clinking of the rusted metal trains,

melodious voices of the empty elevators.

Thousands of breathing bodies are walking briskly.

And at a distance not very far these places are vanishing while spiraling an invisible center.

 

In the midst, which is in itself an end,

I see the rushing wind on my face, one arm of our galaxy, and in its dim light my cold legs leaving a long trail inside this black ancient water.