Monday, June 23, 2008

Islands and Icebergs

(Or, How to Read a Poem)

Imagine the paper
on which this poem is written
as an ocean.

Imagine these words
as either islands or icebergs
floating on the surface.

Imagine yourself
as an explorer, a cartographer
of heart and mind.

From the safety
of your imagination’s ship,
what do you see?

A mountain peak;
perhaps a ribbon of smoke
from an old volcano?

A drifting glacier;
a pair of polar bears frolicking
on thin ice?

You ask: Where
is the connection, the link
between each to each?

You ask: Must I hop
from this island to the next,
feeling after feeling?

Or must I move
from one iceberg to the other,
thought after thought?

And I answer,
take a deep breath and dive
into the dead calm.

Taste, feel, smell;
see what was once invisible
listen to the silence ---

Read again.

- Ralph Semino Galán

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