Seth Jani - "Shell" and "The Human Shadow Is Quite Big"



Every atom sings inside our bodies.

Don’t believe it?

Then let me tell you about

The sun over Saskatchewan,

The way its fire forms

A living weld between

Bone and light,

And how when you hold

Your hands up to it

In a small frame it becomes

The source of paintings,

The place where colors break

From the primal gods of white

And bloom like Sunday irises.

Let me tell you about the richness

That flows towards me out of nothing

And bursts into bright hosannas.

It’s not poetry, but simply

The state of things.

Under our hard understandings,

It’s all as brittle as a shell.


“The Human Shadow Is Quite Big”


Sometimes I think we have come a long way

Not to live to the fullest,

Not to hold the world copiously

In our hands like beads of water.

There are times I want to take the waste

In everyone’s life, and the money,

And build a bonfire, and scream.

On other nights I take my binoculars

Out to the tallest hill in Seattle

And stare at the endless trash

Of the burning cosmos,

The icy remainders of creation.

They say the universe has the smell

Of welded metal,

Eons of junked projects

That could have been another earth,

Another you.

I reconsider the failure in my own time.

I learn to love what isn’t there.


Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( His own work has been published widely in such places as The Coe Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, VAYAVYA, Gingerbread House, Gravel and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. More about him and his work can be found at