O


O


Ouroboros. One whole loop.

The enormous cobra goes around the pond, holding its tail in its mouth.

Ouroboros. Omega.

Once, I dreamed I was at the Old Oaks in Glastonbury – those primordial mothers of acorns
known as Gog and Magog. Two sheep stood on the path – one black as coal,
one white as snow. They were both ovine ovates. Owners of knowledge.
The coal one spoke words of portent in an otherworldly tongue.
Its voice was a rumble of thunder, spilling across normal borders.
I could not comprehend. I woke.

I look at my crook:
            it’s shaking. It shook.
           
It will shake. 
I look at the lake.

The surface of that pool is (will always be, has always been)
a reflection of the sky above. Right now, as I stare,
the clouds that had grown into towers while I stood
have also grown down in that mirror,
have also grown dark in that mirror.
Surrounded by an anaconda hoop
those onyx clouds below look bottomless, a void.
For all the world it could be an eye.

I look at the sky. The surface of that ceiling is
(will always be, has always been)
a reflection of the pool below.
Now I can see it clearly:
the mammoth python doubled overhead
becomes an iris, 'round a perfect obsidian round. So
one colossal organ looks down on us, open:
the atmosphere become a cyclops.

The oculi ogle each other, so
ogle themselves. One in the cosmos,
one in the ground.

Do they see me, too? I do not know. But,
as soon as that thought crosses my consciousness,
the great orbs flick across to stare straight over
in my direction. But I can’t cope:
spontaneously,
in the same moment,
I swoop the crook through the air,
and at my unspoken command
the cornea in the sky is covered -
the oculus gone, concealed, closed.

I look down. There, too,
those echoed eyelids have come together.
Now a mouth.

Oh.



------

In April I was writing a poem a day (roughly) for National Poetry Writing Month; one for each letter of the English alphabet. I've been thinking of it as a curious kind of pilgrimage to the letter Z. Around 'K' or 'L' I got sick, and then my computer got sick, and altogether things slowed up so much that 'O' has been open, waiting for me to go through, for over a month.

Here at last, though, is the complete (first draft) of 'O'. The letter 'O' was originally derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph for an eye.

The poems are a sequence and you can read the first fourteen letters on the following links:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N

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