Steven Reese: New Words at Babel: And

                      The Conversation, by Mary Hatch, 2017, oil on canvas, 36” x 40”



New Words at Babel: And

                                                         . . . the dull God Terminus . . .
                                                                     —Emerson, Journals

And doesn’t know how to bow down
before the dull god. It plunges ahead
to the next thing and the next, on
and on. And insubordinate, champion
of the left-out, the overlooked, the not yet said.

And of the still-to-come, the past
indispensable but never enough,
never a place to stop and rest,
and rousting us from sleep to say what must
be done yet, what extra hour spent, all but and if

put by for now until the lack
be met, the stone set in place, the note struck,
what had been taken given back
fourfold. Abundant and, the fade to black
forestalled where and throws its light, shows us where to look

for what follows—knowing full well
about limit, about measure, the end
and its insurmountable wall,
and so: not blah-blah and, not and to fill
space but to grace the is with also, to expand

our portion’s glories, one more chair
at the table, another hand to take;
and of the poets’ lists, the sheer
plethoras of ear and eye, cry and prayer,
of ends we’d have come to by now but for its sake.

Steven Reese

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