A dear poet friend recently offered a writing prompt consisting of one guiding word: tranquility. I knew immediately that I could never encapsulate the entirety of such an elusive and sometimes impossible state of being, but I just spent the last 48 hours hammering out critical essays on Charles Wright’s search for the infinite and ineffable in his essays and poems, so I let myself off the hook of grappling with cosmic mysteries and instead took the advice Wright imparts in Halflife: that all tangible things are gateways to the infinite, that the metaphysics of the mundane image are as close to the divine as we might manage. In the act of relaxation, I found a sliver of tranquility sitting outside at night in my gazebo decompressing from my midterm packet, and this resulted:
This is Tranquility
At least for the next few hours,
between the witching hour and dawn,
my companion shares silence with me.
Sleepless dog, almond eyes half-lidded,
supine against the back door. He knows
this is a meditative time, neighboring
windows darkened, streets stillened
as though a Rapture swept traffic away.
Perhaps one has. Perhaps an evening spent
stargazing counts for something
in the grand scheme of things
which are not things. Yesterday,
I asked the universe
why we must find language as pilgrims
seeking That Which Cannot Be Said,
and it answered, as much as it would,
because you do.
Because the night belongs to lovers,
Patti Smith sings briefly in my mind,
but these things come
So, too, will nights
measured in cricket songs–
smiles from a watchful hound
content just to exist here
beside me–teach me
to watch, patiently,
the canvas lighten.