John Valentine teaches philosophy courses at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. He has had poetry published in The Sewanee Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The International Poetry Review, Mudlark, and other journals.
Walden Pond Why has no one ever invented a god of slowness?
A high hawk drifting in starlight, the slow swing of clouds crossing the deep. Honeysuckle, the perfume of peace, gathering night air in the scent of stillness. No oars now. His small boat drifting in moonlit iridescence. Everything speaking. A threnody woven by tongues in the dark. Croakers, crickets, the late loon. Words of the water. A slight whisper of sweet wind, all the risen voices seeming to say: Be patient, old friend. We’re here, we’re here.
What seems mania to you, this whirling emerald stickpin, is life, my life, gathering gold in wildflowers, wings whirring, my quick tongue speaking the language of desire. Meadow by meadow, nothing, not even the wind, can catch me. The owl, the peregrine falcon. And if you think I rush, hasten my death, you cannot imagine a glorious movie played so fast that only God with his infinite eyes can see it.
He seemed disposed to take our confession, our flightless sin, in a crimson cassock of down. O the brightness of that prelate, preening and splashing in the font of holy water. If there is a heaven above the sky, he has seen it, beyond all knowing. Shimmering, he chirrs and—snap! Like a sudden magician he’s gone, leaving only a hint of the holy in quiet, breathless air.