Coming Full Circle

   When the journey concludes, time begins anew and you find yourself right back where you began.  With the exception of time and perspective, of course.  Followers of my blog may have noticed that the photo for “The Journey Begins…” and “The Journey Concludes…” are taken from the same location, a shrine in Japan.  “The Journey Begins…” photo is taken as one looks out from the shrine; while “The Journey Concludes…” photo is taken as one arrives back at the shrine and looks inward.  This symbolizes the journey coming full circle, or the end of The Past, Present, and Future.

   Sometimes, though, life grants you a reprieve.  A second chance to pursue the journey, only with a glimpse of truth in your back pocket.  Such a chance, could only be described as A New Beginning…  Writing a story that deals with such a theme, though, is a journey unto itself.  So, it came as no surprise that writing A New Beginning… has come with many twists and turns.

   As I have mentioned before, much of my writing comes from the dark cave in my mind.  One day, as I lit a torch and headed into the cave, I saw a mark left by a certain “Joe” that pointed in a different direction.  That mark, though, led away from the task at hand.  What’s a writer to do when they find themselves in such a conundrum?  Fortunately for me, one of the major themes that I’ve been writing about is time.  Having thought about time a great deal, in order to master its essence in my writing, I knew that it was on my side.  With the warm light of my torch shining down upon the mark, I examined it thoroughly.  Understanding my new path, I then slid through the damp cave walls on my journey to a new destination.  When I arrived, I found 23 lost poems: The poems that time forgot.  I also found my lost influences there.

   In the days that followed, I lugged each poem out of the dark cave and brought each to life.  After finishing the last poem, I realized that I had found the lost treasure in my mind.  The missing piece of the The Past, Present, and Future.  I had just completed the “Lost in Time” collection.  The final, and previously missing, piece of The Past, Present, and Future.  In the days that followed, I revised the original 70 poems and combined everything.  The entire “compilation,” as I like to call it, is now complete.

   With my poetry now whole, it is time to finish the book.  When that will come, I do not know.  After all, I have a new time line to introduce….   One thing that I do know, is that my lost influences still need to be lugged out of the dark cave.  There are three of them, but they’re not like the others.  No, they’re all together different.  I’ve lugged out a few parts, but each influence is a bit heavier than the previous lot.  I suppose, I’ll need more time to compose each.  A month should do.  I imagine the third day of the month would be as good a time as any to release each.  Please come back on 3/3, 4/3, and 5/3 for the unveiling of each.  After that, I suppose I’ll just have to let you know what I plan to do with my compilation.  Oh, I suppose you’ll want to know where I am at with A New Beginning… as well.  Barring anymore detours, I should make good progress between now and then.  That is, as long as I remember that time is on my side….

Poetic Influence No. 2: “An Eternity”

        Archibald MacLeish’s poem “An Eternity” heavily influenced my obsession with time, and the idea that the present is all that we ever get.  I addressed this concept throughout my entire collection of poetry, and specifically in my poem “The Present.”  Like MacLeish, I see the past and future as realms only reachable through the present, or now.  Without this moment, there can be no past, or future.  That being the case, both past and future flow from the ever progressing present.  Like holograms projected from the present, the past and future both exist and do not exist at the same time.  Here is how MacLeish delves into the topic:

An Eternity

by Archibald MacLeish

There is no dusk to be,
There is no dawn that was,
Only there’s now, and now,
And the wind in the grass.

Days I remember of
Now in my heart, are now;
Days that I dream will bloom
White peach bough.

Dying shall never be
Now in the windy grass;
Now under shooken leaves
Death never was.

        One of the great aspects of poetry is that like art, it can be interpreted multiple ways.  I see this poem as dealing with time, and the present, and containing a seize the day element.  Others, though, may see a poem wrestling with faith and rational comprehension.  In the second scenario, MacLeish’s poem may relate more to my poem “The Journey Concludes…” than to “The Present.”  Just like beauty, though, interpretation is in the eye of the beholder….

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Photo by Elizabeth McCullough

The Journey Concludes…

Like the sun slowly setting in the west,
All journeys must conclude one day
Leaving only a path of frail footprints.

Perhaps, watching the final sunset
One comes to realize that preservation
Depends on how well the path was tended.

In the end, one cannot go back
And care for a path that was unkempt.
The past cannot be changed.

Soon the present and future will merge,
Like the last fiery sliver of sunshine
Melting into the horizon.

In this moment, perhaps, the journey moves inward
And begins again; giving us one last opportunity
To relive the entire path in a single flash.

What a wonderful experience that would be,
A convergence of the events of a lifetime
In a brief moment of enlightenment and awe.

A momentous and brief parade of all that was,
All that is, and all that will ever be,
Sending us off to the great beyond.

by Cody McCullough

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Photo by Cody McCullough