The end of endings

December 19, 2006

Getting There


You take a final step and, look, suddenly

You’re there. You’ve arrived

At the one place all your drudgery was aimed for:

This common ground

Where you stretch out, pressing your cheek to sandstone.

What did you want

To be? You’ll remember soon. You feel like tinder

Under a burning glass,

A luminous point of change. The sky is pulsing

Against the cracked horizon,

Holding it firm till the arrival of stars

In time with your heartbeats.

Like wind etching rock, you’ve made a lasting impression

On the self you were

By having come all this way through all this welter

Under your own power,

Though your traces on a map would make an unpromising

Meandering lifeline.

What have you learned so far? You’ll find out later,

Telling it haltingly

Like a dream, that lost traveler’s dream

Under the last hill

Where through the night you’ll take your time out of mind

To unburden yourself

Of elements along elementary paths

By the break of morning.

You’ve earned this worn-down, hard incredible sight

Called Here and Now.

Now, what you make of it means everything,

Means starting over:

The life in your hands is neither here nor there

But getting there,

So you’re standing again and breathing, beginning another

Journey without regret

Forever, being your own unpeaceable kingdom,

The end of endings.


David Wagoner

From Traveling Light: collected and new poems


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