As if the sky during its emergence
—when it bubbled its way up out of the sand,
cooled and then sublimed into vapor
that blued the dank grey of the atmosphere—
left a residue of cobalt behind to remind
from where it had sprung into existence,
the water rising from this spring
appears unearthly, as only things
close to earth, born of earth, can:
its blue deeper than the heart of a sapphire.
Today, when faced with such a spectacle,
we have, as usual, only two choices:
the paralysis of awe, or the quick nonchalance
of acceptance. But what about the Spaniards
who came upon this spring before there was
a platform lined with inner tubes, before
there were wooden walkways elevated to slow
their impending rot, before there was a faux beach,
its sand stolen from the spring’s center?
Did they run in with their clothes on
convinced that this was the fountain of youth?
Did they laugh believing themselves
drunk, mad, asleep—dead, maybe?
That afternoon, late summer, we did not swim,
chose instead to wander out to the edge
of the walkway, not a word between the two of us,
only the wind. Unlike us mere mortals, the trees
had long since been impressed,
preferring, instead, to maintain postures
incompatible with the work of sycophants.
© C. Dale Young. Published by TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.
Source: The Day Underneath the Day (TriQuarterly Books, 2001)