Thursday, July 13, 2017

below the tranquil surface

the subconscious can geyser

long miles of evergreen lined road 
carry us to where in Yellowstone
the intensity beneath our continent’s crust
forces itself to be known,
steam clouds into the cool air,
as if fires burn before us,

when we get close
we realize radioactive decay, deep in the Earth,
heats the rocks below,
and the crust is not thick enough to repress that power,
so water works its way down
and then transmutes into messengers
from the power below into what the surface can know,

our destination is the Grand Prismatic Spring,
a great shimmering cauldron of turquoise, 
with a deeper blue emerging from the mist around the edges,
past the pool, yellow, orange, and brown leap at the eye,
where bountiful bacteria contain dyes
that enable them to use the sun for energy,
and mesmerize us with their intensity,

we move on to the Old Faithful Geyser,
which every hour and a half, or so,
erupts one hundred feet into the air for several minutes,
almost a clock chiming with its boiling fervor,

then to the West Thumb world of steaming pools of water

and bubbling pots of mud,

all this geothermal activity like a subconscious
that will not be denied, ignored, which forces itself into the day
to remind the surface where it came from,

tears are like geysers,
and their truth can be beautiful,
and troubling.

by Henry H. Walker
July 8, ’17

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