Before a race begins,
sprinters crouch upon the mark,
waiting for the starter’s gun.
Before a symphony is played,
musicians tune to the oboe’s note;
reeds are moistened
and bows are poised above their strings.
Before the first word
of the earliest tome
the quill was sharpened,
the vellum scraped smooth.
Before every beginning there are always preliminaries.
This poem was begun
before ever my fingers tapped the keys.
Like long-distance runners lapping the track,
inchoate thoughts pound round,
jostling for ascendancy
before settling into place,
breasting the tape to cross the line.
Can one ever unravel,
to the primary impulse,
the tangle of factors that begat these thoughts
and everything, for aeons back, behind them?
If there ever, upon a time, was ‘once’,
a point before the start of ‘always’,
surely it was this:
a rooted, raw propensity
It still persists,
made manifest in human-kind:
of create, make, shape.
Let there be…