David Sibbet | Premonition
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Premonition

For a couple of months I have been in a writing dyads with a colleague. We give each other prompts. Write for 20 minutes. Read what emerges, and then share how the writing landed. What resonated? What touched us.

As a result I’ve been writing poems, and somehow the voice that is coming out is one I want to reinforce, so I am sharing a poem I wrote and evolved a bit this morning. It’s current. It is called:

PREMONITION

Long cycles hide in the

busy flow of daily life,

deep currents under the

crashing waves.

 

Sometimes the cycles are a slow crumbling,

a weakening of foundations

that give way abruptly

breaking the surface calm,

giant whales of change.

 

Living in earthquake country

I listen for faint signals with

my body, tiny tremors that

foreshadow a major snap.

 

Is this background vigilance

sharpened my foreseeing,

or is the nervousness I feel

the past pushing forward,

clouding, memories of Vietnam?

 

Entrenched institutional arrangements

move like tectonic plates.

And their locked shifting can snap

and become depressions, and wars.

 

But are these tremors I feel today

true markers to be followed, and

feared, or simply the crumbling

confidence of my own long life?

 

Sometimes excitement seeking young people

play chicken with their fast machines,

but the institutional cracking and straining

I feel now, though called a game of chicken,

foreshadows more than a crash,

more a crumbling of trust,

with dreams and lives being pulled

into an opening chasm.

 

I breath in the fall air

and notice the lack of rain.

A central little tree in our back yard,

tucked under larger oaks

has died.

I look around for other

signs that this drought is

cutting more deeply,

quickening our cooking.

 

When will the long cycles

finally snap through

the sea of our distractions

and bring us face to face with

the breeching whales of change,

the generation shaping crumbling

of our foundations?

 

And what is asked of us with

this foreseeing?

 

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