What more is there than this curious
Faculty of ours to rest our awareness
On or in or with something, so that the whole
Of our being is immersed in that other,
So that, in fact, there is no separation between I
And, for example, a grecian urn,
Or a gathering storm cloud out my window?
The measure of a man is in the quality
Of his attention, which begs the question then of
This varying quality, that is, what is the unit of measurement
Of attention, one of depth or completeness or raptness?
What is it about attention, which on the surface seems plain
Enough, almost black & white, meaning, your attention is
Either with me or not, an either-or situation, that upon closer
Analysis, indeed, reveals itself to be more complex?
Herein lies the amplitude and frequency that gauge
The way one, as is said, focuses
Or concentrates or places one’s awareness,
And, in this way, creates meaning out of perpetual emptiness.
So then let us look long and hard and again at the urn
With its timeless scene of the precipice of love,
Its unheard melodies of the piper, its never-fading beauty of the maiden,
And let us rest therein, embodying Keat’s paradoxes,
Never lifting our gaze, not to breath nor to quench
A parched tongue, for to look upon the scene of immortal seduction
Is enough, yes, to merely look upon beauty is enough.
Certainly for this particular shard of attention,
Stretched out over countless poems and days, knowing the limits
Which everywhere make human our efforts at eternity.
Every song lifted from these lips ventures only so far, enchants
Only so long amongst us mere mortals, until, at last, the spell of my art
Is broken, and we remember the rain battering at the window,
And when in this instant we leave our frozen lovers
In their ancient grasses, all is lost again, undone again,
Unborn again as it was and ever shall be in the beginning.