ARK 99, Arches XXXIII

By Ronald Johnson 1935–1998 Ronald Johnson
Aship, reel in fountainhead
enclosure of roses
skies indigo, gold moon

Omphalos triumphant
“only connect”
end, point of beginning

of old, apotheosis
chandelier fond du lac
cross (mortal) hid boundary

compass beyond confines
music of the spheres solved,
mosaic of Cosmos

snowflakes lit darkest sea,
bowsprit the deeps
bound white antipodes

such conflagration of souls
Dawn in Erewhon,
corporeal cornucopia

one being, surround in bloom
flow essential seed
portal system Milky Way

as Unmoved Mover under orders
axis mundi, ascend scale
organism omnipotent

poised in flesh,
awake horns psaltery
Fanfare for the Common Man

mind set razor an edge,
blood fulfill final ablution
fire purify baton

Oompapah! to lead the band
anystray orchestra
knows who destination

core of the universe
(so rings redwood of eons)
gospel sentience

Lo! allegro non troppo
remake mankind,
a joyous noise into the void

“from going to and fro
in the earth, and from walking
up and down in it”

as speech arc Simulacrum, O
chorus us Homo Sapiens
in a major key!

tools, consonant & vowel
to fashion a voice
commensurate wheel of time

Origins great aorta
leaved from the wrist up, but
yet to attain the skies

all arrowed a rainbow midair,
ad astra per aspera
countdown for Lift Off

Ronald Johnson, “ARK 99, Arches XXXIII,” from ARK, published in 1996 by Living Batch Press. Reprinted by permission of the Literary Estate of Ronald Johnson.

Source: ARK (1996)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Ronald Johnson 1935–1998

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

 Ronald  Johnson


Ronald Johnson was a Kansas native who lived most of his adult life in San Francisco. He told Contemporary Authors: "I have spent the last twenty years writing a long poem titled ARK, which was completed in 1991. The work consists of three books, each of thirty-three sections: titled The Foundations, The Spires, and The Ramparts. Rather than being based on literary sources (as the early The Book of the Green Man was based on . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.