Moses (Part 3)


Continued from last week

{iii} Dialogue in the Abyss
…a huge wreath merely to adorn,
unsolicited, a bouquet of withered grief,
a loss which, immovable and more immense
would have been death to me were it not deeper:—

the sky shorn of her regal smile like a flower bereft of her fragrance
a mere thing made even more superfluous by the accident of her enormous corpse
spurned even by vultures for the obvious drudgery of an unprofitable meal
the sky robbed of her radiance by a demon shuttling from my mind to my heart
the sky no ocean of tears could restore
necessarily absent, dead, for such are memories…

and therefore if i curse that fatal hour when the stars ceased to come to me wrapt
in the tenuous silk of ancient whisperings to dry my tears for the sake of the moon
children that still we were, it will all be in vain…

…welcomed by nothing but this clear father
aware that my words have lost the shadow he distinctively abhors
i lie down my grief brilliant in his arms
myself transparent as the absence that weeps
endlessly beneath the sand. if this is freedom
i ought to have left its business to the gods!
bitter fruit of so much clarity!

what nook of my heart unknown to its lucid poison is left
from which like a secret child may burst

an occasional cluster of pure uncontaminated stars, laughter?

and even if i gouge these eyes and feed their murderous fire to the vultures
what avails the deepest night to the pitiless glare of the void?
O prison of thought that loosed me to its endless expanse of light!
what wall is crueler when the moon is dead?…

sleep, O you maiden, sweet ally of the earth, come! snatch me away
from this cruel bed of light! and with your thick mantle of dreams
hide me away from myself!… in vain! no lid can shutter out the mind,
invisible serpent! and already, do i not know that he, seducer,
had impregnated sleep herself, maiden no more, with his venomed seed and,
like a secret mocking laughter, awaits in her innocent lap my body’s hour?
is there a better state for enduring the same infinite dread?
will i be sad the less to know open-eyed or asleep that the sky
when there is none to replace its grandeur is dead? O baneful certainty
of the death of gods! for nevertheless i must curse, being human…
god-murderer that i am, could it be that this, this sadness deeper than ever
could be a god’s, could this be the terrible wage some unknown higher god
has awarded for my crime? blessed thought fiercely deep as a wounded glance!…yes!
since i am! since i die! since i did not create my lungs nor my lungs the air!
my blood did not gush from my blood to its depths! nor yet this god-
slaying need, this ultimate loss from itself, this universal death kept alive
by my merest longing!…O my infinite heart! and since i, this i that speaks
from a gap that devoured all the depths of the earth, the heights,
maimed tear, wounded sigh, am greater far though dying,

than the sky, the earth, the ocean; since my heart’s desire flows on
stronger, farther, than the nile, and bends to no circle’s dead-end, returns
but to an infinite absence, its own lidless chasms—therefore farther to surge,
farther and farther still into the limitless…

invisible sand hacked in the face by rapier winds that spare no sterile dream,
wounded mirror brilliant as a useless tear, upon whose precipitous ridges hang
a loathsome beggar like a tedious brooding—
death, a blear-eyed garbage dog grown hoarse for wheedling bit by bit
the putrid compost of decaying selves,

i peer into my word and there looms a face like the face of a giant shipwreck

i was not god enough to invent nor impose upon my face.

lost in the depths of the word, nevertheless i speak. i speak and the sea is mute, and the sky, the earth.
i speak, i name them, and they are! a god there must be to own the word!

and like the word, and beyond it, he must be invisible!

To be continued


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