An Introduction to...

by Esther Cameron

In the middle of the city
Stands the house of song and story
Built of stone, its rooms are many,
And the rooms are all six-sided,
Large the lower, small the upper,
Ranged around a central courtyard
Where a single fountain plashes;
And the fountain has ten basins:
From the highest flow the waters,
Now divided, now uniting,
To the lowest and the largest
On whose brim the poets often
Sit and scan, their eyes half marking
How the ripples in their motion
Touch the brim and seek the center,
Then spread outward once again.
Underneath the ground is hollowed
To one room, a mighty kiva,
Where, amid those pillars chiseled
In the likeness of great tree-trunks,
All the poets of the city
Stand at equinox and solstice
To hear read the formulation
Of each season's task and tidings
And give counsel where they can.


In The Hexagon, the reader is taken on a tour of a building situated at the center of a future city and dedicated to poetry. Around the central courtyard of this building are ranged a poets' cafe; an Archive of Life-Stories; a second archive comprising the poems that constitute the "journal" of the city, going back to the time of the construction of the Hexagon; classrooms, small meeting-rooms and more. 
The hexagon is the cross-section of the cell constructed by the bee, which is an ancient symbol of both poetry and community. The hexagon is the largest polygon that will tile a plane, the figure produced by arranging six circles around a seventh; thus it stands here for the integration of the individual poet into a communal tradition. Moreover, a cube can be positioned so that its shadow on a plane is a hexagon; thus the hexagon can stand for the link between the material and spiritual worlds.