Magellan Song

Originally posted here on 2/12/2009, but dates to late 1994 or so.

when I speak to you
of the way it is 

your eyes widen in surprise 

(or is that astonishment – the right word
makes so much difference
when one tries to describe the way it is)

it seems sometimes
that no right words exist 

to carry my complete meaning

do you think 
I would speak to you
of hearts or forever

use any tired words remotely resembling
those dry and familiar forms

if I had language that could make how I feel clearer

all I have for you is known and common
a few small words
I may have offered too often 

but I promise you that if I had been alive
in mythic times

I would have invented a language 

that would have
the syllables
I need

every word would have been a nail 
in the ark that saved
all the couples of the world

the covenant bow that was revealed 
after the rain had dried 
would have colors only you would be able to see 

I would have been clear enough
to have torn Babel down
all on my own 

if I had the right tongue 
I could reform history 
with improbable, impossible words — 

if I had the tongue I need to speak my mind today
I swear I could remake the world 
in the corners of my mouth

and offer its fresh contours to you
in a song of Magellan – the circumnavigator
now just barely remembered

but once his name was the leading edge of a legend
an arc of hope
from known to unknown

if I could speak the words I need
I would conjure him

I would spell him into life this morning 

as we sink our toes into this cold Atlantic sand — 
look at all that horizon out there – 
its dark line the promise of unseen shores –

to reach it we will need a new vocabulary 
but for now this is all
I can bring myself to say: 

come closer
stay close
sunrise can’t be too far away


About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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