(04 October 1943 / Germany)

A Monad

Reading the samadhi pada of Patanjali
-the first foot of the yoga sutras-
in bed and late into the night

I come again to the words:
the mind may also settle
by meditation on any desired object.

At once I become aware
that all about me in my room
I can sense the unmistakable

unique fragrance of your body
once as familiar to me as the sound
of my own breathing

and that now swirls to my nostrils
across thirty years
of absence and forgetting.


The immediacy of your ghost-presence
startles me and I see again
how one impossibly hot

and stifling early afternoon
in August we rode out
to the far end of Lake Nokomis

stashed our bikes in the shade
stripped out of our sweat sodden clothes
and swam laughing and naked together

in the sunlight and warm water
of that deserted public place.
Later in the steaming day

we pedaled through the unending
sluggish streets back to your apartment
and made long love together

in the high, brass bed beneath your window
as the sun faded and sank below
the tall treetops across the railroad tracks.


Stirred by our bodies’ slow sliding
my eyes opened for you
and I saw a single dropp

of perspiration bloom at your sternum
and then a bead of sweat
fell away from my brow

the two points of moisture joining
as one minute lotus-colored pool
glistening in the dying sunlight

like a tiny jewel slipped free
from Indra’s infinite net of gems
into the curve between your breasts.


I remember thinking then
-and I still know it must be true-
that if only I could make myself

small enough I might see into it
as into one of Leibniz’s
singular infinite monads

all essentially alike
each a world of worlds
and find reflected there

all of our history
entire and complete
-eras and eons, campfires and galaxies

battles and languors, lusts and rages
the ten thousand subtle
arguments and poems

fashioned exquisitely
of trouble and desperation
all the costumes of the soul

wanting, wishing, grief and desire
what we were and what we have forgotten
and what we all are striving

so blindly to become-
all of it dissolved and vanished
-like the heat of a lost

late summer afternoon-
in the universal accomplishment
of absolutely nothing at all.

by Geoffrey Gardner

Comments (1)

LOL......good one Herbert! !