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Nocturne with Monkey

D. S. Martin

Does the capuchin monkey    hanging from his prehensile tail
see the stars    or just a speckled ceiling
beyond the Peruvian jungle’s darkening canopy?
When his gathering of palm nuts is hindered
by the approach of creeping night
might he stop to consider those points of light?
Might he    staring into the deep
comprehend their distance
their size    their number    & then wonder
or is his imagination limited to foraging    & wedging
himself in high treetops for his night’s sleep?
Might he be overcome with awe    or is the sight
of a shadowy snake or a slinking cat
at the foot of his tree    his only cause of fright?

A man    walking the terraces of night
might be preoccupied with inconsequential things
& not notice the    insufficiently bright
smudge of Andromeda’s spiral
on a moonless night
but should he stop    to marvel at the sky’s expanse
his considerations measure more than space & time
for numbers are only the foothold    from which
his imagination’s leap    thrusts toward the sublime
Might it be his own shadow    the shadow of God’s image
stretching across the galaxies    that carries such consequence
since merely seeing such blotches of light
seems to have no teeth    to bite a lesser mind?
We are left like Pascal    terrified by the silence

 
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