The laws create fields of stalks,
The laws nestle in the seeds,
They are in the roots of the reeds,
They spread to the circling hawks.
Inside them, you can see their DNA,
And see them spread over the plains,
And see them sparkling under the rains,
And the thunder cracks in the sodden day.
Miracles, the investment of miracles
In your fingers, in the street,
The investment of miracles in your
Bones, the fat of the wheat,
The return of the crown, the Lebanon
Cedars, the flash, the world
Renewed with no warning, no splash,
The ten dimensions uncoiled,
The submarine canyon, the island
Crest, the native and the tribe,
The crystalline snow that fills the north
The neutrinos in a furious diatribe,
Every flock and every quantum foam
Is part of our theater. Everything
Is a bracelet, the laws of repulsion
And attraction, the resonance of Ming
Ceramics. And every false eye lined
With kohl that looks away rejoices
In feldspar and fool’s gold. Only
The collapse of the hill will dim the voices,
The voices of the wind and the stream,
So that the cedar totters, which relied
On soil and sun, on water, air,
Where the icy stream flowed wide.
First you move your fingers, next
You manipulate a spoon. Later,
You watch your fingers move, you say,
“I almost feel like a spectator.”
The infant learns to guide his finger
To his mouth—not only because
That step comes first, but see,
It sets the image of the laws
That send your mind to hover out
In space, and truly set the seal,
So that the spinning of the galaxy
Imprints its stars upon your heel.
The spiders rise up in the air,
Lifted by strands of silk, lifted
By their own electric charge,
Thousands of them have vaguely drifted,
Mirroring the filaments of galaxies.
The orb-weaver, the cat-faced spider,
The hacklemesh weaver, and in space
GN-z11, the outrider,
And IC-342, the spider
Galaxy. The Corryvreckan,
The Sombrero Galaxy,
Finger shadows wave and beckon,
The footprints of an old foot
Fade, and then you see
A young foot, a child whose mother
Birthed each galaxy.
When wisdom enters your heart,
Your knowledge will be delight,
A cosmic thought will guard you,
The splash of the Milky Way’s light.
Hidden among the burgundy snails
Is friendship, like the friendship
Of one burgundy snail for another.
So too the scutalus on each slip
Of grass, so too the cerith on
A seaweed frond, each has
Its national soul, each shares
An inner urge, a surge of jazz.
The kestrel does not find its home,
Its satisfaction, in that bond.
It seeks a friend and only finds,
In Siam or Bombay, a vagabond.
It finds a friend only beyond
The stratosphere, only beyond
The pulsing sheets of cosmic rays,
The nebulae splotched red and blond,
Beyond them too, beyond the memory
Of smoke, beyond vacuum,
Beyond ladders, Planck and Einstein,
Wheel, extension, loom,
An unending storm that floats across
The sea of Jupiter, that roars
At the core of a neutron star,
Or churns in the stirred-up shore,
The kestrel cries its tale about waves
Of force that may speak or eat,
That may bathe in fire, that may sing,
Or save the seed on the desolate street.
“May we sanctify Your name in the world
As they sanctify it in the highest skies,”
And when maple seeds spin to the ground,
They are memory hidden, in disguise.
The moon is the servant of
The sun. Entropy is wrapped
In life. The mind and heart
Where bare emotions can’t adapt,
The swallows gliding on the air
Above the puzzled dawn. The text
Of rocks, mimosa leaves, is clear
And not confused, perplexed,
Twice the light zips through
The sky and once is zips through
The earth, and the molten sleep,
The face of the billowing brew
Of black smoke of all the dimmest
Nations will be drawn away,
Leaving the scrub, the African moon
Moth, the protein encased in the clay,
The single existence in which
Nothing else exists, everything
Else exists, the Creator of
The mustard seed, the renewed spring,
What is hidden is wonderful, and
Everything is hidden. Just one
Founds the earth and bends the sky,
Invites no shadow or comparison.
The towns are shattered. Until
The light swivels round on the black
Water, and in the morning, the sun
Light fades away the zodiac,
The furnace of plasma’s light soaks
The leaves and sugar floods the twigs,
The breeze sifts across the orchard,
The scarlet lines of burst figs.
At noon, the light is so intense
That the green groves cannot disguise
It, turn it into illusory eyes,
But hold a tremulous compromise.
Yaacov David Shulman