There, in the In-Between,
No trumpets sound
No beings clad in gold celestial fire
Arrive as guides to the heart's desire,
Only silence falls
Throughout the velvet deep profound.
At the In-Between,
No Savior calls
For there is naught but nothingness;
An emptiness entire.
Strangely, I sensed myself suspended
In a nevertime of not-quite-being.
Such was the In-Between, where now I wandered.
As though it had always been,
I felt myself afloat, adrift
Upon some frigid river full of ice
Which had no source and knew no end,
That traveled 'round and 'round and back again upon itself
Rising and falling over distant hills and bearing me with it
- Or rather, what was left of me -
Along in its meaningless, endless circuit.
Nor dark nor light intruded.
Vision compassed only what might be envisioned,
Images forming and fading
Within the little cavern of my skull.
Voices without discernable words.
Murmmerings within the waters.
Something like a sword
Was lodged down my throat.
I gagged upon it, over and over;
Unseen hands would withdraw it, then shove it down again.
The main thought flickering in my head
As I lay in this place
Was of how I seemed to have become some frail remnant
Of whatever I once was.
No longer did I have that sense of flesh
Containing the shape of me,
Nor the feel of muscle, nor the bone beneath.
I felt I had somehow been rendered
Some modern scientific wonder,
A creature flayed alive yet living
In some embryonic form, possessed of such shape as it could claim
By virtue of a remaining mass of nervous tissue;
A minimalist miracle
Preserved in a nutrient bath by the power and will
Of a conclave of white smocked High Priests of medicine.
Strangest of all, perhaps
Was that this perception of my fate
Occasioned in me not horror,
But rather a regretful sadness.
"What will they tell my wife?" I sighed in my mind.
Yet, by slow degrees the feel of the outward world
Stole in upon my little hell of shapelessness.
The throbbing thing I seemed to have become
Refleshed itself somehow,
Though the sword in its throat remained.
Distant voices resolved into speech again,
And as they did I felt myself begin moving again
'Round and 'round as before, still on circuit
But no longer floating on ice.
Now, instead, I seemed lain on some unseen track
Circling through a low-roofed sandstone cavern.
When I passed the band of light
That marked the faroff entrance of this cave,
I would hear the voice of that Boy Who Would Be Our King
Exhorting the Disunited Nations
To join his crusade to punish his chosen scapegoat
For an evil he had helped loose upon the world.
The long silences that followed his harangues
Revealed the skepticism of his audience.
I could sense that a long roll call of the dead
Would soon be scrolling past the world's collective eyes,
Be his call accepted or no;
This was for show, decisions had already been made.
I regained perception of how dangerous things were becoming out there,
Out there where I'd lost my way, to stumble into this place,
How long ago I could no longer recall.
I knew this to be its nature, though
And as well that this was where I belonged, Out There
Where the only source of peace or peace of mind
Was the hope we wove between ourselves
With threads of unstoppable possibilities
The human way spins for itself.
I knew where I belonged, and reached out for it.
I came back to be within
The folds of all I love
To seek the mystic shine of life
Expressed in friends, relations, wife
Awaiting my return.
I began to climb Above
Back to where all hopes begin
To where desires brightly burn
Until their ash shines whiter than
The purer feathers of the dove.