It was a day of high clouds
that contained summer's last day.
I watched the sunset framed
by my apartment's southwest windows,
a band of glowing light,
whose sheen pierced the white clouds.
I saw red streaks brush yellow patches,
and yellow burnished into gold,
its glow a new color
only angels apprehended in sudden flight.
And now was this vision mine as well?
I met the aged seer a few hours
later on a nondescript Minneapolis street.
Her face was wrinkled by decades of harsh
experience, there was no smile shaped by
her lips or spilling from her eyes,
and yet to my novice sight, she seemed
supremely happy... Her first words
to me were harsh beyond reckoning:
'Don't let the Poetry mislead you.
Plato was probably right, after all.
Poets cannot be trusted. They are liars all! '
She said this in a loud, cracked voice
at the intersection of the Lake and Chicago,
where the remnants of the midnight people
awaited one of the last buses of the night.
I was nonplussed, and more than a little
weary of this latest encounter with a seer.
When would they assign me a mission? When
would allow me to finish this passage?
Looking back, I realize this was a major test,
and I was close to failing it outright. What
saved me? It was my earlier impression that
this seemingly cantankerous old woman was,
in truth, supremely happy. I turned to face
her in all humility, and felt a charge of
grace course through my body, deep into my
mind and touch my soul! 'My hands are usually
empty, I am a beggar of Poetry.' So I spoke,
hardly knowing what it meant. 'Oh, keep
writing your poems, ' she said abruptly.
'They can't do any harm, maybe they are
carriers of a wisdom alien to mine. I only
know what the Golden Light has revealed
to me. You are not ready to receive it
yet. It's up to you to figure out WHY NOT.'
Her voice trailed off, and her form
vanished in a blink of my eyes. No one
at the bus stop noticed it. As I turned
away and started walking west on Lake Street,
I heard a voice within, from deep down
where the small things lived. It said,
'Your Enlightenment has been postponed,
it's rescheduled for another time, place.... '