All Things Under The Sun ~ Paul Allen

Baltimore, Maryland


Going from Hard Rock to the other shops

Across Inner Harbor, the little girl

In blue shorts, yellow T, catches on

To her grandpa’s game now, how to jump

On shadows, how to dance away.

They make two circles, circling each other.

Twice in each circle they are one,

And as two eyes give the one sight,

Two bodies give the one shadow.

In the loose shade of wall, the young couple

With empty stroller walk their private moment,

The gait of a stroll in courting days.

The little girl squeals when she stands

On grandpa, he on her.  He moves in time to her.

Though they play with shadows,

This is not a shadow play, but reality

As far as I can know it, gray outsider, and yet

I wonder what unfolds before me.

Container and the thing contained.


Of all things, child, under the sun,

Only the waters of the earth cast no shadow.

All else of substance shows a spirit self,

The caterpillar, the mountain, the bridge and the tree.

Even the black letters of this line

Are shades of something like them in the mind.


Your shadow is your shade, your soul

Or will, if you will, sometimes larger

Than your body or smaller.  The sun decides.

In the morning your Adam shade stretches

Toward yesterday, where all there was

Was naming all there is.  Come the evening,

Your Eve, the maker, reaches back for tomorrow.

All making requires a break with God

To name what is not seeable under the sun.

May your will be more than a whim of iron

But will as builder of the things you see.

Later in your life, with lovers, you’ll play this game for keeps.

There will be sadnesses. No one can stand

On your shadow longer than you

Allow under the sun. There will be joys.


Even now, the hands of the hooded men

In the desert end their silence to construct

A boat to you, while the folds in the robes

Of the eremitic women hold the red river

Ready to bring the boat home.

They are your lovers before you know love.

Here with your grandpa at Inner Harbor,

You begin to build the harbor.