Matthew King


Like moths who have no sense of their own size
or of the distance to their moons, you fly
not to the light or from it but around.
You feel this keeps you safely off the ground.
How close you are to crashing you can’t tell.

You’d never touched the railing but you fell
as soon as it was gone. You couldn’t sound
the depths without a line. The fence that bound
you on the inside held you upright by
the angles that it hooked into your eyes.

They wanted light but focussed on the line,
these bits of sensing flesh that think they’re mind.
It’s human, all too human: you’re designed
to lose the way and settle for the sign.

Matthew King used to teach philosophy at York University in Toronto, Canada. He now lives in what Al Purdy called “the country north of Belleville”, where he tries to grow things, counts birds, takes pictures of flowers with bugs on them, and walks a rope bridge between the neighboring mountaintops of philosophy and poetry. His photos and links to his published poems can be found at