|CANTO 10 --
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific,
as two Pan Am pilots exchange a stare,
the Diamond T gains altitude,
its wheels and engine turning slowly.
Iím breathing deep in filmy silence,
the octopus comfortable beside me.
Turtle on the hood blinks and turns its head
as the blue ocean drops away.
Now wreathed in banks of cumulus,
under this slow and steady breathing,
the Diamond T begins to shimmer.
Already into the ionosphere I see
the whole sky turning from blue
to astronautsí purple-black.
We soar and lift ever higher.
I sense the thrum of alpha-wave propulsion
and see the magnetosphere!
a great bowl of vibrating light!
that bulges toward the sun,
shimmering and buffeting
in the turbulent solar winds
sheathing earthís entire magnetic field
and streaming far out on the nightsideó
the dark sideóall alive with auroral storms
spiralling in at the poles!
The whole wide sky is aflame with charged
protons and electrons blown off the sun and
curving in hazes of purples and reds.
Drive straight on into the sun! into white-hot
Scramble the eggs of my paltry mindís eyes
with the incineration of the kingdoms of
Release us! Gate! Gate! Open the sun-hinged
Turtle turns and speaks:
All right, Iím breaking
a silence of thirty million years!
Enough of these fantastic conceits.
Youíre sold out to sensation,
financed by and mortgaged to riders and attachments.
You need a Virgil to your wannabe Danté,
Letís go sliding down the dayside stream
as it spirals in
to fluoresce in arcs and rays and curling
that entertain research rockets
and falsify early-warning radar.
Iím taking you right through the pole to
the earthís core
and then some for a few object-lessons.
No way to think about this rebukeónow weíre
curving down toward the north poleís auroral
The hood and the headlights
are glowing incandescent.
Turtleís eyes are bright white points!
The filmy veil
we trail is a shining rippling rainbow.
Copyright 2000, R. Virgil Ellis.
R. Virgil (Ron) Ellis lives near Cambridge, Wisconsin. He has most
recently placed poems with WordWrights, New Works Review,
new digressions, Recursive Angel, 2River View, The
Wolf Head Quarterly, The Lucid Stone, and Mississippi Review
Web. His site is www.rvellis.com, and he can be contacted at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Canto 10 is part of The Tenting Cantos.