Exercise for Closed Eyes
In the room it is very dark.
In the darkness, I close my eyes.
Behind my lids I see:
Eight hundred lights in one hundred and seventy seven years;
One thousand lamps in a decade;
Thirteen candles in fourteen minutes;
A hundred billion points of radiance in an hour;
Four searchlights in thirty seconds;
Two thousand one hundred and forty torches in twelve hundred days;
Half a trillion beacons in a century;
Nineteen columns of phosphorescence in an age;
Ten gaslights in ninety minutes;
Three score lanterns in a millennium;
Five dozen flares in an aeon;
Eleven flames in an orbit;
Two million sunbeams in a lifetime.
I smell the sulphur.
I taste the embers.
I hear the carbon.
I feel the warmth against my face.
I open my eyes.
The room is still dark.