Imago: For David Malouf

Who knows by what mysterious means the body moves to its ends?
(David Malouf, An Imaginary Life)

Half right, Ovid: we metamorphose, yet
Not so wildly. There are leaps which we may
Never take, gates which bar the backwards way.
Infinitesimal, our movements, but breath
Charges with possibility each step.
We perish like beasts, to the same dust as they;
Yet chasms stand between us. We contain
More than flesh, though spirit’s shackled by debt.
Is this our freedom: that in dying we fly?
Or that we throw off the deadweight of skins?
Such thoughts become not poetry, Ovid.
Look to the kernel, dying in a field;
The body will know healing from these sins,
Glorious, in the twinkling of an eye.

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