after John Donne



The sunflowers of empire move

As a great saffron river

Along the inward banks of the pathless path.


It’s wrong to create whole races of humans to be slaves.

Why read my mind? It’s only a dream.


Love, the regulations are very clear.

Your power is the rejection of the captive social order.

Yours is the power dislodged from razed cities,


Enlightened basements, lost cauldrons,

Blinding homes, narrow lanes.


Nine eyewitnesses survived.

Communications were almost out.

Nothing brings back the dead.

If I’d ordered soft lights, old as the stars,


Galaxies may change, spread out.

These things cannot be real.


It’s hard to believe a place so beautiful exists.

I stop and smell the flowers of planets.

Offhand, I’d say my instruments are defective.

On the other hand, nothing makes sense.


Things that cannot possibly exist are utterly real.

You’ll see me again and never know it.



21 October 2011



Spoken word version from Venerable Madtown Hall, copyright © 2013 by Jim Cohn.

Video clip from The Making of Venerable Madtown Hall, copyright © 2013 by Jim Cohn.