Miraculous Spirals

Spira Mirabilis, the logarithmic or “miraculous” spiral that widens
with every curve yet maintains its shape, is observed in astronomy,
biology, meteorology, coastal erosion, etc.

Upon a beach & under galaxies
…………….revolving, filled with stars,
……..coiled on itself, a nautilus
……..whose spiral is “miraculous”
lies tiger-striped, sea-scoured, its sacristies

more proof of nature’s winding symmetries.
…………….A wave confronts the shore’s
……..unraveling resolve, the loss
……..of coastal sand disastrous,
the crescent of its carving, by degrees,

a slow retreat…Unleashed, a storm gives rise
…………….to more than just brute force
……..shaped like a wheel, calamitous:

……..its track is heading straight for us,
winds gaining speed… Far off, a raptor’s eyes
catch sight of prey, pursuit we recognize
…………….by how it dives, its course

……..a gyre determined, dangerous
……..(& logarithmic, more or less)
till—sated, safe—it shelters in the trees,
beneath the limbs a hurricane will seize.

An insect whirls, dizzy as it flies
…………….in search of any source
……..that shines, however hazardous.
……..Translucent wings, diaphanous,
dry up in heat: stuck to the lamp, it dies,

fooled by synthetic sun. More mysteries:
……………..the eye’s corneal layers
……..(a shield for its glassy surface,
……..tender, tear-fed, aqueous)
resolve into a helix, vortices

of bundled nerves…What joins us all to these?
…………….Time’s pulse; the spirals’ course
……..or hidden presence, marvelous

……..& all-pervasive, measureless.
The nautilus, left on the sand to freeze,
holds thirty chambers, small eternities
…………….that no one occupies,

……..yet time & space are limitless
……..& time itself may have to pass
before we learn the same geometries
reside in our unfolding destinies.

Ned Balbo

Ned Balbo

Ned Balbo ’s six books include The Cylburn Touch-Me-Nots (New Criterion Poetry Prize) and 3 Nights of the Perseids (Richard Wilbur Award), both published in 2019. The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems received the Poets’ Prize and the Donald Justice Prize. He received a 2022 Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council and was a 2021 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Balbo has been a faculty member in Iowa State University's MFA program in creative writing and environment and at the West Chester University Poetry Conference where he and poet Jane Satterfield will offer a three-day workshop, "The Echoing Green: Poems of the Living World," in April 2022. A new batch of songs, Ultraviolet Chimera, is available at Bandcamp. (For more, visit https://nedbalbo.com.)
Ned Balbo

Author: Ned Balbo

Ned Balbo ’s six books include The Cylburn Touch-Me-Nots (New Criterion Poetry Prize) and 3 Nights of the Perseids (Richard Wilbur Award), both published in 2019. The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems received the Poets’ Prize and the Donald Justice Prize. He received a 2022 Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council and was a 2021 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Balbo has been a faculty member in Iowa State University's MFA program in creative writing and environment and at the West Chester University Poetry Conference where he and poet Jane Satterfield will offer a three-day workshop, "The Echoing Green: Poems of the Living World," in April 2022. A new batch of songs, Ultraviolet Chimera, is available at Bandcamp. (For more, visit https://nedbalbo.com.)