As she spoke, I glanced
Idly into my coffee, and I began to picture
A great city. It was circular, and it
Turned like a colossal mill-wheel,
Steadily, in the darkness.
My descent was easy,
And I was soon conversing with its citizens.
A small number of them lived in a tall, stone tower
At the exact center of the city.
These were calm and stately people,
Turning serenely in place, contemplating, observing.
Most of the city's inhabitants, however,
Lived and worked away from the center;
Subjected, in varying degrees,
To the tremendous forces of the city's motion.
These were restless, active, compulsive people,
Never content; and the farther away from the center
They dwelt, the more difficult, confusing
And exciting were their lives.
Occasionally, one or two of them would venture,
Or be drawn, to the perimeter of this revolving city;
Where hot winds howled relentlessly, and the stars
Dazzled across the sky.
Why they did this was known only to them.
They endured intense hardship, summoning
Every ounce of wit and strength to experience
Before being cast off the edge, in long arcing
Tangents, into the darkness.
By this time, the coffee was cold.
She was still talking, however.