Tunnel Vision

The trail is a straight tunnel
through dripping woods.
In last night’s dream, I’d been
ready to cross a mountain
where roads & trails
hadn’t yet been thought of,
not even by the animals.
On the far side, my brothers
had found another hollow
parallel to this one, where
riotous growth pressed
against the windowpanes
& light-starved houseplants
rotted in their pots.
But this morning,
the trail ends as always
at the crest of a ridge a-bristle
with dying laurel bushes
& brown & yellow bracken.
The valley full of fog
glows in the weak sunlight
like the belly of a carp.
The woods are silent
except for the patter of urine
where a deer grazes,
her pelt already quivering
under the feet of her daily flies.
The camera around my neck
travels the length of the trail
in both directions, far heavier
than its credit card-sized
counterpart in the dream,
& just as empty.

[Poetry Thursday – dead link]

13 Replies to “Tunnel Vision”

  1. “The valley full of fog
    glows in the weak sunlight
    like the belly of a carp.” – what a stunning visual!
    there’s a certain serenity to this poem that i really love. thanks for sharing this.

  2. Yes, Dave; I agree with all the earlier comments. It’s a beautiful poem full of marvellous imagery and sense of mystery — that interface between dreams and the world we think we inhabit. Sometimes I read things that seem to articulate places I’ve dreamed. This is one of those.

  3. Sorry – late addition to the plaudits. The poem gives to me an acute sense of place, the relative exoticism of which (for a rural Brit) is enhanced by the dream motif. Loved it.

  4. “Not even by the animals” — now that’s a lively extender.

    “Parallel” I find difficult, but it gives your meaning of alternate reality.

    Looking down from the ridge-top at “the belly of a carp” is challenging, I have to break the image, so I do. On first readings I sort of flew a carp kite so I could look up wonderingly at the belly. I guess getting that image is a two part process.

    The “patter of urine” seems brilliant, the navel, also the destination, the place in the woods the poem takes awareness, where I the reader stand.

    The camera section I couldn’t address in my first readings but this morning it really comes into great relief. I get a sense of your morning’s travel along the path being modeled in a lesser orbit of the camera around your neck.

    I wonder if the aperture of your camera is a cartoon-like tunnel, ribbed like an esophagus or a trachea — probably not! When the mind burrows what sort of scrape does it leave on the wall of its tunnel? A poem? The ichnologist knows the petrified crayfish burrow by the marks of its scrabble.

    The relation of dream-weight to waking-weight, emptiness to vision is gifted. Not only have you brought the box of the camera on the line of your trip, but also its black emptiness, so hungry for light, so absorptive of imagery that its blackness seems necessary for the existence of light.

  5. I wonder if the aperture of your camera is a cartoon-like tunnel, ribbed like an esophagus or a trachea
    Yes, that’s pretty much how I pictured it. I didn’t think any reader would see it that way, though. Huh.

    I’m still a little insecure about the precise wording of the ending, but I was satisfied with the closing image for the reasons you describe. Thanks for the feedback.

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