Prelude | David Lee

Prelude: Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. And the Voice said, “Moses did not go to an
oil well derrick to receive the Law and the Tablets, and Jesus did not go to a fracking site to give
The Sermon, and Buddha most certainly did not sit under a pump jack to experience the vision
that changed the world forever. Sacred Place is required to receive Sacred Epiphany, and
without that epiphany, wisdom cannot be achieved.”

Impromptu Meditational Ode
Concerning the Sacred Relationship of Time and Place
(and the act of finding the bullseye in the center of epiphany)
During Miles Davis’ “Autumn Leaves”

and by an autumn inspiration
Richard Wilbur, “In the Elegy Season”


when silence screams like a gashed river
through the space between note and next
the mind makes the first movement
from absence to creation
          Parmenides all the while listening
questioning whether the basis is need
or dramatic impulse and if difference
is even meaningful, one can, like flotsam, turn,
move into a quiet pool of contemplation
          and begin the shift:
whether the fiction of this event we call life might
be akin to a small but very deep pond or even lake
the product of a thousand quiet pools and pauses conjoining,
co-mingling, creating in this instance the memory
          of an autumn perception
seen perhaps once in magical childhood
as from a great and fearful height nestled
in the remembrance of Bears Ears, Hatch Point, or Boulder Mountain
surrounded by huge vistas, great pines
          interlaced with the blaze of glistering aspen
all mirrored in the still twilight water
of a brilliant afternoon lake,
a reflection of first moment
personal realization that if autumn comes
          winter is not very damned far behind


and then the requisite shift
to antistrophe, the fulcrum moment
between inspiration and expiration
when the lips purse and in the mind
          the millisecond of doubt
the lake, great mountains, burning aspen,
towering and reflective pines memory
only symbols inviolably intertwined
with their referents
          covering what lies below
dark, incomprehensible and invisible truth
whispering in the embrace of acrophobia:
surrender, make the leap into the still stare
of water under moon-bitten pines
          sink into the dark abyss of unknown
the plunge, penetration of time’s scrim
the lung throb, turn back toward surface
the second terror of suffocation
clasping the mind in fingerstops of nightmare


          then the awakening with the break into light
only to recognize the separation between aye and I
and remain standing above the lake’s great eye
wondering: what next? while deep in the mind’s ear
between the anvil and stirrup of memory
          the benign inner voice of enlightenment,
first comprehension that the shock
of height or drowning is not of falling or suffocation,
but of failure to make the leap, and with grace,
so that when the plunge comes, the remembrance
          thou shalt not fall: dive
into expiration, then new inspiration
and with that parabolic breath the mind returns
to blood rush rhythm, joy of the leap with the float
back into melody, which, as they say, is exactly why

Put off the shoes from off thy feet,
for the place where thou standest
is Holy Ground

Exodus 3: 5