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Lookout at the Lake

by Ken Sanes

I am standing on the lookout in the last light,
waiting for the arrival of another long night.
As I take in the view, I see that the lake
is darker than usual, reflective and opaque.
I also see a line of empty trees against the sky --
a half-dead reminder that one day I will die.
Of course, everything reminds me of nameless death
and the loss of self and the sudden end of breath.
But, while I stand here, there's a change in me --
a sudden transformation in the way that I see --
as I ascend to rapture, in a state of bliss,
and see a world of perfection I would otherwise miss.
I see it in the contrast of the sky and the trees
and in the branches, just so, complete without their leaves,
and I see it on the surface of the dark lake,
which is a clouded reflection, smooth and opaque.
Then, looking at the water, composed and still,
the wall of my self melts away with my will,
and I understand that there was never a wall,
just this cool dim Eden, always here beyond the fall.
And now I am the union of water earth and sky,
as a single thought passes -- "It's just my ego that will die!"
And now I praise the world as I remember the abyss
and forget to be myself in this time of timelessness.
As the experience continues, I also see the years
and how I failed to fully live, but was buried by my fears,
and how, even with this failing, my life is still complete,
and has its own perfection and was never a defeat.
But I also catch a glimpse of life beyond the dream,
where things are as they are, not merely as they seem,
as I find myself thinking that life is born to die --
we can accept it, love and hate it, and retreat into a lie,
but the truth about ourselves is weíre being and naught;
thatís the world beyond illusion and the part we canít be taught.
Except now I start to worry that the time is getting late,
and I regret that love and life are full of death and hate,
when quickly, but in stages, the mystic high is gone,
and once again Iím separate as everything is wrong,
and the lake starts getting nearer like a monster in the night,
and the darkness is devouring the surviving rays of light
as Iím trapped in a world of was, where no one knows my name
and every act of love is just a suffocating game,
and Iím trapped in a world of will be, where everythingís a threat,
and my all-consuming fears are tied to my regret.
Now Iím not certain if I should leave the lake or stay
as Iím embraced by the darkness and lose the day.


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