On Re-reading Quevedo’s Poetry
Was that where my life went,
a spent candle trailing dark studies
among the packed lines of your poems?
And you, was your life gutted by that
same guttering candle by whose light you
scrawled your tight black spider rhymes?
Were they all meaningless, your insights
and my words? So few now know who
you were and what you represented
and I, your scholar, a mere shadow of your
shadow struggling in the straggling
light of a far-off continent, far from content
at knowing so much about you. Intent
I was on spreading light and the word
to a world that thinks the two of us absurd.
Our world is spinning on its edge, placed
on the perimeter of space, and going nowhere.
Specks of dust we sit and contemplate
the vastness of what exactly: our fortunes,
our spirits, our houses, our power, our lands?
Out there, in the vastness that surrounds us,
worlds without end will never know we existed.
Bleak and blank our names, our deeds, our status,
the statues they raise in our praise. And what of
our thoughts, those sparks of electricity
that link us lip to ear and mind to action
and each of our actions transformed by a dance
performed by circling planets that shape our wills?
Who programs that universe now? Who plays
what trivial games of snakes and ladders
in which we are the dots and dashes, pinballs
among a million trillion strings of flashing lights?