Academic journal article Field

By the Road of by and By

Academic journal article Field

By the Road of by and By

Article excerpt

... we get to the house of Never.

-proverb

Siamo smariti, we said, in what

Italian we knew from Dante, we're lost,

on the hillroad to Settignano.

Umbrella pines shielding us from dusklight,

we banged the iron door-knocker cross

at a convent, the only house we could find.

The little nun tried to hide

her smirk at our garbled Inferno-speech.

Lost like "in perdition."

Perche la diritta via era smarita.

Because the true way/

right road/unstraying/

straightforward pathway, whatever it was

translated to be, was missing, lost. Bewildered.

She crossed herself and giggled.

House of Now, who goes there, who lives

inside your locked mansion, and how did they get through your

marble door?

And the paving stones

were good intentions?

I have followed Intention's

downcoiling hell-road, through Time, knowing,

I knew, the straightway, the sweet by and

by-have swayed

on wavelashed, frayed-rope suspension

bridges, crossed and crossed those bridges though they never

came, will never come.

As it were, the saying goes. Past,

subjunctive: was always were. Time

covers and discovers everything, they say, but who

says Time will tell us anything? And when?

Inflected,

-fected, as though the verbs

were to tell us nothing

of time and its insistent

ill-use, illusion. The tense

will always have been present.

To say a by-your-leave is an apology

for a permission you somehow forgot to ask

for. By-your-leave, Time, I have left

along the road of by and by, over

treacherous and elusive bridges, toward

Never's stable trough. …

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