In the Open

Being here protects a tiniest inhalation at the foot
of unthinkable vastness. The moon continues
to reach its zenith over billions within billions
of echoes in minds, under billions within billions
of parts of great circling commutations out of origin.
Isn’t this a neighborhood where the mind plans
to see what it knows, where cells sense the ocean
is a home they might not have left for a life here
in the open where mind has been, shaped as it is
by genetic languages of color and architecture?
Core-spun seedlings sweeten through elastic time,
in the cracked-apart spectrum, as the sun rises
within cells of the leaves, and specialized cells
stake out neural terrain, the unknowable future
making the place smaller. Ancestral breakthroughs
deliver pound-roiled moves in sleep-shelled defiance
of gravity, where vastness of night appears not to
judge or even know what we know. Heavy trees show
presence of Earth to those who see, as history breaks
away from the fallacy of All of this is yours. At the root,
wheeling on cores of spiral multiples, the ancient world
has led to our lives, separated from everything else
now alive, everything that has been keeping us alive.


James Grabill

About James Grabill

James Grabill’s poems have appeared in numerous periodicals such as The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), Magma (UK), Toronto Quarterly (CAN), Harvard Review (US), Terrain (US), Seneca Review (US), Urthona (UK), kayak (US), Plumwood Mountain (AUS), Caliban (US), Spittoon (US), Weber: The Contemporary West (US), The Common Review (US), and Buddhist Poetry Review (US). His books include Poem Rising Out of the James Grabill’s recent work is online at the Buddhist Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Terrain, Urthona (UK), Shenandoah, The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), East West Journal, The Common Review, Toronto Quarterly, Elohi Gadugi, Oxonian Review (UK), Plumwood Mountain (AUS), Caliban, Spittoon, Weber: The Contemporary West, and many others. His books include Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994) and An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), both from Lynx House Press. Wordcraft of Oregon has published his new project of environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Book One, 2014 (available online -, Book Two, 2015 (now available). A long-time Oregon resident, he teaches 'systems thinking' and global issues relative to sustainability.
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