Quiet enveloping encyclopedic knowledge: "Worms are in the fish." Row a boat out on the Sound. A sunny day, sunburn. Plankton netted, brought in to the microscope: "A lifecycle stage for the worm." Cool silent forest, Pine smells, hot sun on our heads, Brown bark path winds, Stop again and stop again. Liverwort on the stump. "Two hundred and twenty kinds known." Tiny details excitedly expressed. Quiet again on his knees: Dark moist fallen log. Busy, busy, busy beetles Nose down to them. Talking to them? No sound. "Over six thousand species known." Tiny details eagerly spilled. Quiet. Stop. Look. Massive black columns of basalt Up to the white blue sky. Row on row. Nose up. Two hundred fifty feet up and up: "Five-sided like dry mud. The raging cataract long gone." Now tiny, tiny creatures. Orange, yellow, Red lichen, hundreds known. Patches of color, millimeters thick: “Growing quietly for centuries.” Quietly observing Encyclopedic backdrop To our giant world. Go slow, the last night Bright and cold Our moment, one last martini Twinkly and tinkling ice Sip the cool warmth. Tears, talk, cold, hold hands My mentor, friend. The glasses empty A silent eye, quiet Deathly quiet The last quiet.
|Return to LSR||Return to Poetry|
Richard Layton has attended NSCC for six years, taking humanities, writing, and social science courses as a senior Access student. A 77-year-old retired Professor Emeritus in the Family Medicine Department at the University of Washington Medical School, his entire career in medicine involved taking care of disadvantaged people, first in rural Grandview, Washington, and later in the inner city of Seattle, teaching medical students and family practice residents.