A Brief History of Edges


A Brief History of Edges

This road leads nowhere. I live at its end where breezes
wilt and the sun still burns my darkened skin.

I’ve sailed to Oman, but have never seen the Dakotas.
My friend searches for the concealed parable in this truth.

An early clay map depicted Babylon surrounded by a bitter river,
and an island named the sun is hidden and nothing can be seen.

Fitting the limitless within boundaries, she remembers no one.
The lighted sign says boots, but I see books.

Venturing from the shadows, she offers an accord: intersecting borders,
we must retain ourselves, deliver what calls

In our place between the hidden and the invisible, consider
that neon gas possesses neither color nor odor.

What lives in creases and at the periphery? The isle called beyond
the flight of birds
has crumbled from the lower edge.

Where I stand defines my portion of the spherical earth.
Crossing lines, I look to the sky, its bisected clouds.


“A Brief History of Edges” first appeared here in April 2016.

33 thoughts on “A Brief History of Edges

  1. My imagination goes running toward your “creases and periphery” thinking CANYONS! but then Reason steps in to remind that this is imagined … that every “here” is an edge, a crease, the periphery of “other” … might as well stand still in “here and now”. (Though my doctor would suggest running might be of benefit!)
    Curious – this poem comes long after your blog’s naming. Can you draw lines connecting the two perspectives of “edges”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My wife and I have had discussions about maps, and how it seems that the most interesting places seem to be in the creases or at the edges. The poem actually predates the blog by months, perhaps a year. But I’ve long been fascinated with perception, with borders and edges, with the periphery, the barely seen or heard. When I created the blog and the WordPress form asked for the name, “O at the Edges” popped into my mind, and so I went with it. No thought to it at all, which could probably describe much of my life. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I will need to spend some time with β€œA Brief History of the Edges.” Is this poem included in one of your chapbooks/collections?

    Fitting the limitless within boundaries is human, of course. Recognizing that we have done so β€” or do so β€” is the essential first step to expanding what we experience. Words sometimes get in my way:

    Speaking of the form or coloring of clouds in his journal, Henry David Thoreau wrote, β€œIf by any trick of science, you rob it of its symbolicalness, you do me no service and explain nothing. I, standing twenty miles off, see a crimson cloud in the horizon. You tell me it is a mass of vapor which absorbs all other rays and reflects the red, but that is nothing to the purpose, for this red vision excites me, stirs my blood, makes my thoughts flow, and I have new and indescrible fancies, and you have not touched the secret of that influence.”

    It is our human tendancy to define the limitless within the boundaries of our limited experience/selves. But that which is limitless plays on us all the same. In the words of Thoreau, it excites us, stirs us, makes our thoughts flow. It informs us that the boundaries we have imposed are illusory. They are not boundaries at all.

    You should visit the Dakotas.

    Liked by 2 people

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