By Richard Whitehurst
I felt frightened when the astronaut
Showed me the atmosphere sitting sheer and thin
Precariously clinging to the cool face of the world
Like an onion’s fragile skin
Later a meteorologist scared me as much
By descriptions of cyclones that swirled
And fed hungrily upon tropical seas…masses of cloud
That when seen from outer space, do in that airy film
Sit like fragile disks of rotating cotton.
And in my human scale
I have felt and faced those living winds
In wonderment, alone…forgotten
As they gushed across open waters, and I gripped…
Resistant and strained in their pressing blasts
Amazed and absorbed by powers and perspectives
That tore the ceilings of my flimsy conceptions.
Soon then I studied
The great black wall from the storm’s eye as I stood
Calm and centred in the eerie sunshine, in the silence
Where breathless pressures bent my eardrums,
and I was swallowed
By extended thoughts and feelings of Relationship
Between myself and that silence
And the granite wind and the tiny swirl of cotton
And the speck of an eye and an onion’s skin
And an entire planet and the on-going void…
These scales and diversities and narrow margins of life
Aligned before me in one measureless moment
That drew me inward to myself as I allowed
Connections to be noticed that had always existed
Elsewhere in the deeper mysteries of my humanity.
As the other dark wall approached…descended
I felt my fearful fragile little-self begin to die.
I chose to slowly peal away my fingers
And gently slipped over into the nourishing chaos.
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