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Three Views Of The Cosmic Ballet
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Three Views Of The Cosmic Ballet

Poem By Gene van Troyer


This dance must be a balance, nature’s pleasure.
A wandering dance of changing measure
Binds them to the burning stars.


Dust swirls a drifting dance
in split shafts of moonlight through the trees.

Darkness is a border edging ignorance,
edging us, its focus is our weakness
and we build the constellations in the unknown sky
like building knowledge, or a fire,
building strength in all that we can know.

Drumbeats on an ancient hollow log:
fill the sightless shadows with their pounding echoes:
we fling our voices to the night, let them soar
above the forest, challenge fear,
and linking hands we wheel about the campsite
stark with wonder, orbiting the fire
at the center.

Eyes bright with the vibrant flames
crowd the shadows back, confront the mystery:
we face it with a name.

The force that moves us through our dance,
moves the orbit of our years, turns the cycle
of the Earth and Sun, and drives our hearts to beat
like mothwing flutterings of falling leaves
that gather on the living forest floor.


We brought them with us from the trees:
the ghostly harmonies, the poet-lyrist string notes
that wheel about each other:

“There is geometry in the humming of the strings.
There is music in the spacings of the spheres.”

This song guides our feet.
This song is the shape,
the clay which makes the choreography
that moves us, moves our hands

to trace the etchings in the sky called constellations—
pictures in the mind from our mythologies;
it gives the strength of breath
that makes the cosmos known
by speaking it:

Sun, Earth, Moon, and stars, concentric in their orbits,
dancing through the edgeless, dark abyss.

And the force that through some binding drives it all
drives our frail lives; that pulses in the hearts of suns
burns at the center of our helices
transforming us.

The force that sings the message of our cells
sings the steady song of gravity.
And we are mute before the power
that through the strength of matter wheels the cosmos:

helix within moving helix: All


“And their construction was as wheels within wheels;
and the spirit of the living creatures was within the wheels.”

We are what we were,
a movement through the changing.
We are transformation.
But not like the ocean:
we are like a planet or a living tree,
a layering around some seed:
air over water over rock over rock
around the molten heart of our turning:
the outward creep of yearly wooden growth rings:
from insects in the fossil mud
through nomads on the plains
bound for Sumer:

and we lift on split licks of flame and soar,
thunder through the clouds, pierce our orbit,
sunlight slicked on glassy wings

and all is falling in elliptics,
Moon around Earth around Sun
and falcon-like the galaxies pern

and the station falls in orbit,
flashes as it turns in earthlight
at the forward lunar trojan.

Braking in, and the airlock looms
while a song weaves through the shuttle’s engine roar:

the force that binds the all drives this small ship
through the heavens, and spins the station,
and fires the thoughts of those who made them.
And we are mute to name the power
that through imagination breathed
these dreams of possibility:

we brought it with us when we left those trees
in the forests of the night
and saw the constellations moving slow:
and that which lives us in our cells
moved us then as now, dancing through continuum.
It moves the spreading universe,
moves around us like the wind around the trees,
sings our voices with its mysteries.

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