Poem: Nick Barr Clingan

The following is inspired by “They Found Gravity Waves,” a live performance by cellist/visual artist Katherine Trimble at Rockland in Seattle in February 2016. The image is a still from the piece’s video projection.


Image by Katherine Trimble, “They Found Gravity Waves” (2016)

Image by Katherine Trimble, “They Found Gravity Waves” (2016)

A Hair’s Breadth Removed

Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing?
Must not lanterns be lit in the morning?

Thus spoke the madman of the death of God
to the crowd in the marketplace
reason’s spark led not to daylight
but grey dawn, or dusk
a Dämmerung haunting the diurnal
ineluctably, but without malice
the void summons us with cold indifference
unmoored from the sun
from all suns
what lanterns could be left? what halos?
for we too laugh and chatter
staving off our own coldness.

The cello’s deep open fifth drones above
venturing from minor to major triad
and back, tenuously
as melody builds, fervent light arches
breaking across the seam
taking flight, suspended
as if through the bow’s frenetic energy
this scepter of the child
bearing the power of the here-and-now
becomes its own sun
only too soon to be extinguished
but can we still sense within it
within us
some tremor of the Absolute?

for John Toews