Monday, January 15, 2007
There are moments when the light
Makes me start up, fright
In my heart as if I feared to see
Unbearable clarity about me.
Once, on Portobello Bridge,
I had the sudden privilege
Of seeing light leap from the sky
About five o’clock on an autumn day,
Defining every visible thing,
Unseen by one among the moving throng;
Road, bridge, factory, canal,
Stained swans and filthy reeds, all
The set homegoing faces
Filling motorcars and buses;
Then I knew that energy is but
Unconsciousness; if moving men could
See where they are going, they would
Stop and contemplate the light
And never move again until
They understood why it should spill
A sudden benediction on
The head of every homegoing man.
But no one looked or saw the way
The waters danced for the visiting light
Or how green foliage glittered. It
Was ignored completely.
I knew the world is most at ease
With acceptable insanities,
Important nothings that command
The heart and mind of busy men
Who, had they seen it, might have praised
The light on Portobello Bridge.
But then, light broke. I looked. An evening glow.
Men go home because they do not know.
Brendan Kennelly in A Time for Voices