Moses (Part 2)


Continued from last week

{ii} Anguish in the Desert
i am the accursed murderer of the gods
and all that is left in me of the granite
is its wounded nothingness. one by one i ripped with my bare hands
the faces of the earth, the sea, the nile, one by one they shed to me
the nothingness they hide. O veils of a happiness lost forever!
O harvest of the night and the abyss! O bottomless dread of my naked heart
yawning before itself! and if no universe could fill its mute unfingered chasms,
what unnameable fullness, what measureless being, what flood of grandeur must resound
to its beat before it dies? O men, O brothers, what word could touch my sorrow’s depth,
what hands? no mirror, not the tedious ocean nor the decrepit azure,
exists anymore to glance back the visage of my solitude!
orphaned by the sky i am the pure mirror which reflects
nothing but her immense death! for mourning of the sun
the firmament is dark and i, i am darker still in my heart for wanting
a sun beyond the sun! not the moon, O, not she, pale maiden with the gaze of dead roses
whose ghost renounced by diamonds now deepens the face of this great disaster
will give me back the aspect of my terrible loss!
who can console me now when not the nile
can convince me of sorrows deeper than my own
in her ceaseless weeping? no, O ghost that lingers
of my very own eyes! and already the nile had died for sobbing
merely to restore the petrified shadow of a singular tear!
O that i can love even just myself! then, having forsaken
the visible earth, having spurned the precise clarity of the stars that glance back
nothing but the narrow prison of my loneliness,
would i have taken rest embracing my pure self
in the arms of their intense absence. but no!
the earth i have wounded beyond her face and the stars
expired their last blaze in the darkness of my hands!
i have bled the universe to death looking for myself and,
stumbling upon its deeper nothingness,
encountered only the fragments of my own pale absence!
i am the wound in the eyes of the earth, the wounded stone that engulfed itself
the pyramid devoured by the abyss, hidden like worm in its ferocious will.
O in vain, in vain, in vain the pure lines of being that gilt the edges of a people’s dream!
yes, mine too, my vain dream for i, despite akhenaten’s lustre am
the painful ripeness, the lord, the prince of their luminous convergence; the apex
of the stone’s triangular cry, massive, transparent, erect, defiance of man
against the powers of elemental dark…
O heroic brothers by the clear blood that runs in the veins of our common grief!
O tragic kins beautiful as a race of gods! O supreme temptation! O regret!
O stone sadness heavy still in my empty heart! no! immobile face of anguish,
it is not nothingness you lack! and lucidity? yours is a bird brooding
upon its eternal want of reasons to undertake
the luminous burden of flight.
and if you love the earth so much,
stone in the shadow’s heart! is it not merely because she casts
such deep and sonorous shadows? O how I wish merely to return
to the difficult beauty of your placid smile
if only the journey were not irreversible
from the root of the stone to the void!
here i am amid a sea of arid absences.
ah, fatal landscape of my landless soul!
do i not come to you as to my own self?
do i not set foot on the wave of your tears
as on the glittering expanse of my solitude
you who hoard no shadows in your heart
you who exiled yourself from the earth
and would wish if you had wings to fly—
where? O, to the invisible! harsh lucidity that makes me linger
with my own faceless ghost! breathe my anguish forth in your own, i, your son!
merge your sandstorm will with my abysmal loss!
blot me out in your clear iron arms!
embrace my nothingness with yours and together
let us be invisible! pure nothingness of wind and sand,
without hiding yourself no sun nor star, no, not even the gaunt desire
of the moon could find you out. bear me away! hide me from the eyes of my blood
and let not the lilies know with their pure sigh of light the terror of my crime!
legacy of the earth whom i robbed of her glorious masks,
whom i mirror to herself in my abysmal eyes—O,
ungrateful deed that i should plunge her back
for her caresses to abyssal dark!—destroy my entrails, purify my grief and wrap
my naked absence in the luminous folds, O ascetic prince, O hermitage,
of your most secret wish! beyond the long tenacity of the shadow cast by my blood,
if i do not find the word that will give me back to myself,
reclaim the seed you spawned and let me be
where at least i deserve to rest… to the abyss i leapt in your arms
you are the eternal question, the cruelest absence.
hone my suffering with your lash of sand,
cleave my tears to the core in your pitiless eyes,
wipe me out of my flesh with your arid blasts,
prepare my lips for the ultimate blessing, or else eternal death…
who am i then that the earth should fail to satisfy my soul?
why should my wish exceed the music of this leaf
to the shattering smile of the void? do i belong to those who reared me,
or do i own my blood? already i have killed a man.
was it myself too i killed in him that the stone
no longer could claim my hands? but no! my brothers, O my brothers!
they will not harbour me! did they not betray me to pharaoh?
and truly, who am i that i should set myself
prince and judge over the hebrew clans,
they who knew that i exist merely
privileged in the margins of my blood?
O my homeless brothers, my people! who else will keep them if i don’t
four hundred and thirty years carving their own pride by denying their hands!
four hundred and thirty years of bondage to the nile, the stone, the alien sun!
they have seen enough of their own abject faces in the eyes of him who commands,
they have heard enough of their own crumpled names
from the brutal mouth of the lash! enough of our fierce maidens—
O i know them!—they of the lashes thick as the song of palms,
they of the body of rain and fire, they who flow deeper than the nile,
they of the eyes that drink the desert back
that his tongue of parched wind and sand
may be slaked in seas of love—enough,
nay, too many already have they abducted
from our anguished loins our aching arms—
O the sweet blithe combatants of our future nights!
to tumble on the bed of foreign lusts!
enough of them to raise the war cry,
they that they ravished unloved uncircumcised!
for of those who have been deprived,
fathers, brothers, kins, and hapless lovers,
no one if they be led by able hands
would fail to gird their raging loins and fight!
father jacob, see how we failed to do what your sons did for dinah!
father jacob, see how when we have grown so thick that pharaoh has to let fall
between man and wife his sword, alarmed that we should be
too numerous for slaves, too proud for our increase,
we chose instead to crouch behind the wiles of bondsmen
and betrayed your august seed! you majestic rebel who chose to ride the wind and cultivate
the arid sand of freedom!…

To be continued…


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