Trilobite from Cambrian Period

The wine is gone
but I’m still not drunk
Can non-visual reality
bring all my dreams to completion?
-From Geological Hymn by Joseph Ceravolo



The poem begins in that sweet spot of angst, where nothing can satisfy the hungry ghosts or the restlessness that can’t be named. The unidentifiable sense of this inconsequential and relatively brief life that can’t be drunk away. Joseph Ceravolo takes it further, introducing into his poem the Cambrian worm, fossilized life from 543 million years ago. 

My head doesn’t belong to me
Why should it?
A desert, an ocean, a tundra,
in the antecedent Cambrian worm
lies before me in a field of vision,
not from me or in me
but from some foreign night
falling and falling in snow.

-From Geological Hymn by Joseph Ceravolo

Here Ceravolo presents to us the Cambrian worm. The worms mark the first multicellular life of that geological time. Considered an explosion of evolution, Cambrian period saw the development from soft forms of life in the sea to those with exoskeletons (corals) and early shellfish and arthropods. All this followed by a mass extinction of those same forms. Their fossils can be found in many places in the world, but particularly where the glaciers were in retreat. A reminder of our origins in sea, and snow, and tundra.

But I still come around
while the wind itself is gone
and the soul like a string bow
in the elastic and infinite void

stretches beyond the spread out message
in this geological kiss. 

 -From Geological Hymn by Joseph Ceravolo

Life came and went in a space of millions of years. Where does “I” exist in this incomprehensible vastness of geological time? In this dream of a life that where we choose or not choose to wake up.