It was the middle of the night, or it wasn’t. Do you remember how that works? Now, the psychoactive drugs portrayed on each new series seem to be about madness, as if that were an end to everything. But you remember the day when we waded into the school pond? How does memory come back to hallucinations, or even the recall of a dysfunction, or the loss created by not being conscious of who was there? Back in the day, there were only woodlands and streams, and everyone was Thoreau, or Emerson, or a wounded Civil War soldier from one side or the other. How easy it was to forget. Those things we need are the ones that vanish so suddenly. I keep thinking we have not moved an inch, the weather is the same, the coastal range has not visibly shifted, only a few stars have died. How could it be forty years? What does it mean that this fragment is a boat on waters we could never have navigated or crossed, never fully realized the depths of, never seen if the sun had not moved just this way, suddenly, behind that cloud?
The poem begins when you entered the room. The sound of your mind clicking off the minutes until the wine, until those little tasties that the department buys on special occasions would be popped into your mouth, was unbearable. It is one of those times when you have to ask, out loud, when will this poem end? The crowd thickens around you, eyes are both averted and dead-stare into the vacuum of your presence, which seems to hover in the middle of the room. But no one would dare speak, say a word, make a disturbance, even if all agree the poem could be better. But she is famous after all, and so we expect a little slip now and then. If only she had waited until your arrival, and then made a comment about tardiness, about regressive behavior, or PTSD, or maybe just that look where everyone at once feels your crime. In that split second, the poem begins when you enter the room. The sound of your own mind clicking off the minutes.
The new bridge they’ve planned to span the chasm between the ticket booth and the ruins of the castle might be okay for children, but the old will never forget the climb, or relinquish their right to an experience, even if it has been polished up a bit in the last sixteen centuries. It was not so much about the knights, or the table, or about that mad magician who was supposed to live in a cave that floods out each day at high tide, but more about how brotherhood could be kept alive even through infidelity, through cowardice, through lust and greed, and come out smelling like roses or whatever was considered refreshing in the day. It was more about the absent of proof of anyone’s existence from the time. Even the serving maids and cowherds are said to be imaginary. So the bridge will certainly make the connection more plain. I wouldn’t use it myself. The sword is still too heavy to chance on a swinging suspension. You may want to paint a different picture, of course, one where the king and his queen lived isolated in their kingdom because of kindness.
George Moore’s poetry appears in The Atlantic, Poetry (Chicago), Orion, North American Review, Colorado Review, Arc, Orbis, and Dublin Review. His collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle Press 2016) and Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015. Moore has been nominated for six Pushcart Prizes, The Rhysling Award, Best of the Net, and Best of the Web, and the Wolfson Poetry Award, and has been a finalist for The National Poetry Series, The Brittingham Award, and the Anhinga Poetry Prize. After a career teaching literature at the University of Colorado, he now lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.