“Light Verse” is the final poem of 3 Sections, the entertaining and enlightening volume by American poet Vijay Seshadri. The “big tower // in Singapore” mentioned in the poem is, according to the poet, the tower of Republic Plaza, one of the three tallest skyscrapers in the country. As Seshadri has not been to Singapore, he must have seen the tower in a film, he thought, perhaps the one with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The poem is, however, about Elvis.
(Standard Time begins)
It’s just five, but it’s light like six.
It’s lighter than we think.
Mind and day are out of sync.
The dog is restless.
The dog’s owner is sleeping and dreaming about Elvis.
The treetops should be dark purple,
but they’re pink.
Here and now. Here and now.
The sun shakes off an hour.
The sun assumes its pre-calendrical power.
(It is, though, only what we make it seem.)
Now in the dog-owner’s dream,
the dog replaces Elvis and grows bigger
than that big tower
in Singapore, and keeps on growing until
he arrives at a size
with which only the planets can empathize.
He sprints down the ecliptic’s plane,
chased by his owner Jane
(that’s not really her name), who yells at him
to come back and synchronize.
by Vijay Seshadri, from 3 Sections
Copyright © 2013 by Vijay Seshadri
Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press.