Poetry for Tuesday with James Goertel. Today: I am the Cosmos

Poetry for Tuesday with James Goertel. Today: I am the Cosmos

I AM THE COSMOS from James Goertel’s bi-weekly poetry feature, Under the Same Moon, explores the infinite, the personal.

Tueday Poetry with James Goertel. Today I am the Cosmos

Flammarion engraving, Paris 1888

these things i know –

the sound of a train, at night, distant,
before sleep has carried my spirit
beyond the lapping on the shoreline

out toward the edges
i know all too well

where ravens wait
with their yellow eyes
to pick apart the soul
i have commended
to the wind,
to the sun,
to the sky

rolling out and infinitely
from the center
where shadows
pass over my thoughts
like storm clouds
diffusing the light
i walk awake
and usher in 
an ominous night
i pull close
like a blanket of stars

my flickering flame
like a dim lantern
somewhere down the tracks
but still moving as surely
as the sound of a train
from left to right
out of sight unseen

the fading cry of broken daylight
hidden below the horizon
where apex and nadir
hover plumb below, above
the center i know so well
where spirit and soul
meet salt and air
at the edges of the world
where i am fortunate to ford
the waters rising all around
in search of basin, range and plain
where night sighs through
an iron rooster’s whistle
and breathes deep the sunrise
painting rails in the gold of new mornings
where feet beneath and head above
are centered squarely upon broad shoulders
having felt but forgotten the sheer bluffs 
of my darkest thoughts left drowning
where even stars will fail to hold 
this same sun from falling, swallowing hours

but never

the sound of a train, at night, and not so distant now
in the blind of black 
where i see myself
so clearly

in the center of this life
still navigating the edges
by sextant and senses,
a map of constellations
in a pocket full of sand,
an eye to the sky,
an ear to the ground 
still looking, listening
for heaven at the horizon
but more likely found hiding
beneath the beating 
of this restless heart

– along with these things i know

James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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