By Tobias Hrothgar
An ode to the poet
Spinning straw into gold
Moon and wind does he mould
Indescribable told, us to know it
* * *
The rain is like knocking—tap, tap, tapping—of a thousand thoughts, a thousand questions, wanting in. But if every mystery and every pondering enters in at once, one will surely drown. The poet lies on the living room rug, wondering, trying to answer one question at a time. Each one knocks on the door, asking in, demanding recognition. Some questions he has been pondering for his whole life now, familiar questions, old and sad. However, some are new, like a shadow in the doorway, creeping in, an unwelcome stranger.
A pounding on the door can be heard over the rain, but the poet does not answer. He has already answered it several times before. It was persistent. No one was ever there. No one was there and no one remained with him.
This is one of the louder questions he has. The phantom visitor outside his door might be insignificant on the other side, but not here. This is new.
The knocking grows more frantic, but he continues to stare unblinking at the light fixture on the ceiling instead. It shines a soft orange light, a comforting light, like a candle flame on a stormy night. Until a gust of wind takes the light away.
The light vanishes and the poet lies in darkness. The pounding of the door has been replaced by a rooster’s call, signalling the beginning of a new day—a different day—on the other side.
He rises from his straw mattress and rubs his eyes, then pulls on a pair of spectacles. This is one of the unanswered questions he has always known. Sometimes he lives one life while other times he lives another. He is swapped between realities like a light switch. The swap never comes at a predictable time, but he’s learned to live both lives at once, though rather unsteadily at times.
A thousand thoughts, a thousand questions, a thousand Voices, two worlds, one poet.
The knocking resumes as it had before, and the poet closes his eyes.