Erich von Hungen – The Moment

The pinpoint perspective of the present moment can feel so sharp but ultimately always impossible to fathom and out of our reach. As Erich von Hungen writes, it is simultaneously hard and soft, early and late, tiny and all-encompassing ‘like a pocket-sized Big Bang.’ In reflecting on the poem and his process, Von Hungen writes, “You could call it epiphany. You could call it insight, realization, awareness, balance, awakening. But me, I can only call it IT. And IT is what I live for.” 

The Moment

The moment
blazes across the window,
fits into the keyhole, even that,
raises up and rests on my eyes
               like a bird
               among spring blossoms.
The moment,
I reach for it,
have it, in a way,
               but not in my hands.

The moment comes,
but never
               when wanted or called for.
It comes, the moment,
               around and through and down
               a single word.
It comes caught in a wilderness of sentences
               and shines there like a drop of dew.

There, the moment,
in that sound —
               banal, unremarkable
               yet suddenly new.

In the landscape, too,
               it is there,
when it all coalesces
and separateness
               is dismissed, denied, disproved.

Even there,
among the flies on something dead
               beneath the hedge,
their wings,
               a repeating iridescent blue.

In silence, too,
               when there is nothing,
but still, the hair on my neck goes up,
my back shivers
               as if cold, though it is not.

And there it is,
there, for no good reason —
               for no reason at all.

From nothing,
               that moment,
like a pocket-sized Big-Bang
               as galaxies form,
               as comets slide,
               as there, a light appears
               where it was not —
               inside, inside.

Hard, that moment.
It comes hard,
               as well as soft.
Comes early, late, unpredicted
               but completely clear and unconfused.

The moment, that one,
               so tiny in duration,
slides through me
               like a bullet, an arrow, a needle and thread.
And I know forever after,
               it has been — that it exists.

So tiny,
                like a point.
And it is that —
                the point
                of all I do and why.
That moment,
               not time itself,
but still it,
                that one,
                is absolutely everything.

The moment comes, as it does,
                from who-knows-where.
I want more,
                but still, just that,
                makes all the rest different
                and always will.
That moment
                like a bird on a blossoming branch.
That moment when I am there,
               when it is too.

That moment,
               why do I treasure it?
Because that bird,
               that branch,
               that batch of blossoms
are bigger,
               small as they are,
are so much bigger than me.


Erich von Hungen

Erich von Hungen is a San Francisco poet whose writing has appeared in The Colorado Quarterly, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Esthetic Apostle, The Write Launch, Tiny Seed Journal, Pomme Journal, The Raven’s Perch, and Nightingale and Sparrow.

He is currently working on various poetry collections dealing with and examining internal awareness —  its paths and extents.  Furthermore, in response to these times of external and political stress, he has created the YouTube channel, PoetryForce, where he confronts social issues of want, need and injustice, but from the perspective of those most deeply and shamefully affected.

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