I am a dormant volcano. A raging inferno
whose fuel, spent in spectacular displays
of fire and molten rock, has disappeared
into the center of the Earth.

I may be, in fact, an extinct volcano, one
with no recorded eruption in written history.
My source of magma may be gone, sealed
off from the power of heat and pressure
so that an eruption is no longer a possibility.

But I may not be a volcano at all. Just a pimple
on the surface of the Earth, a silent, harmless
replica that mimics a grim snarl asserting
power over the landscape.

No, occasional explosive outbursts, though
no longer as frequent as they once were,
offer evidence that the danger has not passed.

Those periodic eruptions suggest I still am
an active volcano, just not as fierce
and as fiery as I once was.

I would rather be dormant or extinct.
I would rather know the heat and pressure
have, finally, escaped into the atmosphere,
leaving me serene and harmless.

I would rather be the site where extreme
patience exists in harmony with dying
memories of detonations more
violent than the sun is bright.

Power sometimes is silent and still.
Explosive bursts of fury can pale in
comparison to the tranquilizing
intensity of absolute calm.

That’s what I’m after. I want to leave
the disruptive nature of fierce motion
to atrophy, replacing it with quiet calm;
a hush so powerful that
sound withers in its presence.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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