all the way back

Posted by on November 16, 2012

A Hundred Bolts of Satin

by Kay Ryan
All you
have to lose 
is one
connection
and the mind
uncouples
all the way back.
It seems 
to have been
a train.
There seems
to have been
a track.
The things
that you
unpack
from the 
abandoned cars
cannot sustain
life: a crate of
tractor axles,
for example,
a dozen dozen
clasp knives,
a hundred
bolts of satin–
perhaps you
specialized
more than
you imagined.
* * * 
I am a day late posting a poem this week, so I will post this quickly, without writing much. I have been thinking about the thread of connections and repeating patterns that I see when I look back on my life. I see things that I experienced when I was eighteen and can easily connect them to the things I experienced in the last twelve months. However much I might have thought that the things I was experiencing in the last twelve months were completely new and different, eventually, with the advantage of hindsight, the thread of connection emerges clearly and “there seems to have been a track.” 
Contrary to what this poem implies, however, I really see no need for despair or a sense of futility or uselessness in the face of all of this specialization. After the hundredth bolt of satin is handed to me and the uselessness of specializing in satin bolts finally dawns on me, I will probably not collect another. Maybe it takes all one hundred times of repeating the same mistake to finally grow wise and aware. Maybe the track is not like a toy train track, going in an endless circle, but a track that actually leads somewhere. Maybe it is like winding up a gigantic parking garage which, although it has you going in circles that feel endless, eventually leads to a roof, where you can finally park, get out, and see the sky. 
(For Poetry Wednesday… two days late.)

Posted in: Poetry Wednesday