Thoreau – A Poem

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) af Thom Satterlee

Thoreau on his deathbed drifted
Into meditation-dream,
A thought-scape in which
Idea and thing blurred together
Like an ink blot
On the page of his mind.
Thus for instance the rowboat
Which he’d many times slipped
From the weeds and eased
Onto the surface of Walden Pond
Now offered itself to him
As the quintessential vessel,
The same old beat-up wooden thing
But with infinite capacity
For a cargo
Of voyages taken
And not taken
With still plenty of room
To stretch his legs
And pull the oars smoothly
Or else relax lie back
And let an underblanket of fish
Swimming beneath the boat carry it
As close to one shore
As distant from the other.
Likewise when he recalled
His ax, his favorite one, he knew
It had the same sharp edge
As death, and so was the same
As death, and always had been,
Including the time he dropped it
And the ax skidded across the ice
Finding inevitably the hole
And dropping down through the blue-cold
Icy water to stand finally
On its head on the sandy bottom,
So he could peer down at it
And contrive a way to rescue death
Though certainly only a forestalling,
And now he had no desire
And saw no distance
Between himself and the shipwrecked
Favorite ax on the bottom of
The upturned fish-boat
Image idea notion thing
Scatters of silver
And what is that the moon
Colors everything white
And permanent and lost.

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