Home > Ekphrasis > Ekphrasis 1: Jean + Teju Cole

Ekphrasis 1: Jean + Teju Cole

March 13, 2007

Man in Tunnel

by Jean Morris of this too


Traveling Mercies

Let the sieving-out

of what is possible

from what has been

given, the work of

naming the touchable,

the not-knowing,

the staying imperfectly

still, the question

that comes at 2am

and won’t stop ringing

the doorbell to the brain,

the being journeyed

through, the trembling

in the spinal-cord,

the walking with a limp,

the understanding that

passes all peace,

the half-light after too

long a light, the end

of unceasing renovation,

the shadow life, continue.

by Teju Cole

Categories: Ekphrasis Tags: ,
  1. March 13, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Your big helpings of gerunds and gerund-like words turn actions and experience into awareness and gratitude. You can really assure the fellow traveler! (I come away from this believing that I can bless, too.)

    The next-to-last stanza is my favorite. I LOVE the feeling of “the half-light after too / long a night,” and I’m still having fun getting my brain around “Let the . . . end of unceasing renovation . . . continue.”

    (You knew I might have a lot of pent-up comments, Teju, since you turned off the comments feature on miracle speech!)

  2. March 13, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    And the picture and the poem are well-teamed horses. What an evocative photo.

  3. March 18, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    That photo is so film noir! Is he coming or going? We can only be sure he’s moving through.

    I also love the half-light of the poem – the question that “won’t stop ringing/the doorbell to the brain” – great image. And all the unceasing movement, mostly it seems of the involuntary, perpetual type.

  4. March 21, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Leslee, going, as I recall. But away is always also towards.

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