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PERMANENTLY EVANESCENT

“Evanescent”--
I thought I knew
what the word meant:
glowing, luminescent,
phosphorescent--

one more good word
for states of being
I deeply appreciate--

but no, according
to my dictionary
what's “evanescent” is vaporous
and will disappear
in a long wisp
twirling slowly upwards
then suddenly gone
into the darkness...

perhaps to join those translucent fires
that blaze across
the upper atmosphere
and call us to dream.

Lao Tzu says
the Ancient Sages
were as evanescent
as icicles.  So I guess
they still are

though they’ve disappeared
like the steam rising tonight
from the burning hangs of ice--

the vapor mixing
with my own warm breath
and thus entwined
lifting to
the cloudy moon.

Such a solid moon
is also evanescent: one moment
a full white goblet--
the next, an empty glass
with a crescent puddle
at the bottom.

The moon tells us:
that which disappears
into shadow
is not lost.

Yes, the smoke of
my flame goes
somewhere, somewhere
into the shadow--
though no longer lit,
no longer aglow
no longer luminescent--

wherever it goes, it remains

permanently evanescent.

© 2010 Michael R. Patton      go back

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