The Outward Path

We see darkly through the mask of time

it cracks and crumbles as the hours pass

filling our mouths with yesterday’s detritus

seducing our eyes with visions of tomorrow

its meaning cannot be spoken we must step

outside time to comprehend it

but our masks can never be pulled off

glued to our faces like numerals on a watch

they shield us from tragedy – always forget – but offer

little sustenance ratcheted shut our mouths can’t open

How many seconds pass as we exhale

an icy breath how many minutes do we waste

in search of lost time Proust pinned it

to the page like a butterfly on display

we enter the temporal stream from a different bend

our past is not lost but ever-present

in the wiliness of the will which wrenches

the years out of their pigeon holes sets them

before us like errant birds we lecture them

on their ephemeral existence we wonder as they moan

Dostoevsky listened to the minutes crumble

as he waited to be executed in the cold of Siberia

tick tock tick tock they robbed him of hope

death had its hold on them they were impotent

to change fate then at the last moment the condemned

were reprieved Fyodor’s exultation exploded outside time

above the frozen steppes he had been confirmed

in his calling a future wearing the mask of a writer

from this moment onward glory and grandeur spread

like a mountain stream overflowing its mossy banks

Time had died instead of the terrified victim

as he stepped down from the gallows

he carefully adjusted the fit of his mask

and peered inward for signs of the outward path

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