The Straight Road

Only through time time is conquered.
—“Burnt Norton,” T. S. Eliot

The captain knows the map that shows
The dappled flows is not the sea;
No bark may pass the darkling glass
To mark the vast reality.
But mastmen, hark—far past the sharks,
A last dim spark still glimmers free
To close the gap for those entrapped
In throes of captive curvity.

“O let us swear the tread the air
And dread that fairest god, the sky—
We’ll kneel and pray to steel or clay,
Or deal with fay-lords passing by.
The grey unyielding daily wheel
Has made us real but leeched us dry;
For shares of bread and careless beds,
We’ll bare our heads to any lie.”

Transcendence burns in men who yearn
To rend and spurn all but the stars;
The same who seek became too weak
To aim for peaks where seraphs are.
The secret flame will speak the names
Of meeker game, who cross the bar
To turn and wend diurnal bends
Till journey’s end—however far.

— James Blaise Toner


James Blaise Toner studied Literature at Thomas More College and holds a black belt in Ohana Kilohana Kenpo-Jujitsu. He’s published Hyperions with Quail Bell, Sunlight Press, Dappled Things, Aphelion, and Tales from the Moonlit Path.

Editor’s Notes: The Hyperion, a form developed by the poet, has three stanzas with eight lines each, and each line has eight syllables (specifically iambic tetrameter). Rhyming occurs at every 4th syllable, and each letter signifies that rhyme: aaaxbbbxcccxdddx.

The constellation, Argo, image (by Grant Boudin and Vita Technology) is combined with an angel image (InspiredImages from Pixabay).

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