The Animal in Motion
on Eadweard Muybridge
Those poor hostages, trapped in their sequential cells;
forced to walk or run, to climb, to sit then stand,
stand then sit. How miserable the captive animal is,
worried away – till they lose hair, presence, weight –
with the fret of knowing they are being watched.
Their every moving part dissected. It seems a wonder
anything. Reduced to one action the body
strains to bend and lift, to step from the frame.
Beyond the frame: the black that is non-happening.
Deep as a canyon, what it is between. A space
with the capacity of sleep, the near darkness of a blink.
Barely noticed and then dismissed. The moment
is neither metrical nor imperial, neither ends nor begins.
Each step’s a crime: the before and after and frontier within.