I have long used a hand-colored detail of the so-called Flammarion engraving as a visual identifier for my website and for my nascent publishing company, Liberty Street Books. But I have never before written an ekphrastic poem using the piece. Mischief managed.
The face of the sun and the face of the moon, stars hung
like lanterns from the rafters of the night, these we know.
The homely village beside still water, the fields and hills,
everyday furnishings of everyday life, these we know.
But then, perchance in dreams, or on our knees at the edge
of who we are, the world lets slip her veil and we are shown
wheels within wheels, the many-layered onion of chaos,
transfixed by flames and clouds and rainbows of eternity.
Who would believe it? What words contain such vastness?
Only stare agape while the vision runs until the vision fades
back into an ordinary eye, a quotidian journey, and silence.