• Moses (Part 5)

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    Continued from last week

    did i not harbour in my guts the fear
    like a thousand noisome needles i did not want affirmed
    by fleeing to the desert the greater to be brave?
    did i not feed with imagined blood
    with egyptian wailings with pharaoh’s head
    severed with the pure knife of my lucid hate
    and my lightning anger the eyes still open
    the ravenous tiger that in my dreams avenged
    daily my trodden blood? did i not with myself
    and the desert feast, raising many a cup of wine abrim
    with empty speeches of our common glory,
    our brilliant sadness? could i have forgotten?, no,
    i have not forgotten the red face of that hour
    at play with the crown prince i wanted to pluck out
    those jaded royal eyes that they might know the dust
    when down i rolled them like a new set of toys?
    did i not recall still that many times, awake and dreaming,
    the dark had convinced me i must be a god
    i would have forgotten the hardest task of all
    tonight, which is that of being a man
    and a man sworn to free my exploited people
    by bringing them to the mount of light
    it was the lord’s demon come to tempt me
    it was god’s dark face come to shatter mine
    that i might not forget i was a man…
    it was myself who adored the stone
    it was myself who refused the covenant
    it was myself who wanted to be master
    and would go back to egypt to fulfill a dream
    of another sheol that with me as king
    would fetter god anew by feterring man…
    it was another of my many deaths
    it was the circumcision of my soul
    it was my tongue singed by a thunderbolt
    it was the last step in that arduous ascent
    to the glimmering peaks of the word…
    it was a fight to the death with the old god
    that was yahweh’s another face…
    it was another of my many births
    it was a wrestling with the great night
    a burning argument with the essence of fire
    a nightlong reminder from the dread abyss
    that the gods are dead and the ultimate goal
    is the freedom of man under god…
    it was the last stand of the granite
    the final rebellion of the rippling nile
    with longing eyes that wrenched my heart
    with desperate cries that ripped my blood
    that only healed with the touch of light
    of the lilyfingered dawn…
    it was my eyes suspended for a whole night
    between the stars and the abyss…
    it was the stars come to tempt me,
    it was the stars invading my tent
    to drive away the infinite darkness
    which is the infinite light…it was
    my right arm to the earth yet sworn
    and my left already to the unseen light…
    it was the earth a maiden moaning
    wet with her juices trembling with love
    pleading her white arcs her undulations
    and i a jacob rode the hills to the moon
    that would they were my sole delight…
    it was the lord horned like a demon
    it was god’s dark hand come to gouge my eyes
    that i might not forget i was a man
    and a man sworn already to free my people
    by bringing them to the mount of light
    lord i have killed the demon you sent me
    and have dashed the stars on the ground of your word
    the last that pursued me from the wide calendar
    as the dawn scatters the dark face of the night
    my word is purer, let us renew the pact…
    i will go to egypt to free my people, your people,
    and you will be with us.
    we will blot out from the face of the earth
    the memory of gods
    and you will be with us.
    we will erase from the seas and lands of your creation
    the memory of kings and masters
    and you will be with us.
    no man again shall be master to man,
    and you will be with us.
    each will work and rule the land
    and you will be with us.
    i will be with them as far as the abyss
    that will gape between me and my memory
    and you with us.
    be with me now lord, i am off
    to start the revolution…

    {v} Revolution
    “i am who am”, and the gods they are who are not.
    “i am who am”, and the world it is that is not.
    “i am who am”, and man he is and is not.
    and therefore must i tell them that he
    the god of their fathers has sent me to them.
    and therefore must i tell them that he
    has sent me to them to bring them up
    out of the land of bondage to the wilderness.
    out of the land of bondage to the wilderness
    for man must own his house to own his heart,
    man must own his land to own his soul,
    man must own his soul to talk with god.
    the lord reveals his name only to free men.
    and therefore must i tell them that he
    the god of their fathers has sent me to them
    to bring them up out of the land of bondage to the wilderness,
    out of the stone’s blank gaze to its crest of light,
    out of all calendars to timeless reckoning,
    man must leap out of man to know who he is,
    man must leap into the abyss to the infinite,
    man must learn to suffer to know how to be,
    man must know how to be to know how not to be,
    man must know the desert to learn to be free,
    the lord reveals his name only to free men.
    the sheolian master was master of the word,
    but in his hands which merely knew the earth
    through the tenuous marrow of the word betrayed,
    the word no longer pulsed with its arduous music.
    bloodless it died in his mummied lips
    forsaken by the guts of the earth.
    and therefore must i tell them that he
    the god of their fathers has sent me to them
    to bring them up out of the land of bondage to the wilderness,
    out of the mute stone to the song of light,
    out of the house of dead men before they die,
    for with the stone that chose him master of the stone
    the master is dead in his eyes.
    dead for denying bread to the farmer,
    dead for denying clothes to the weaver,
    dead for denying house to the builder
    dead for denying man in his brother,
    dead for denying himself in the other,
    dead for believing in his own monument.
    dead for not knowing that the stone is deep
    only as the pure sweat the earth exacts
    from the hand that seeks in her bosom of toil
    the quiet gestures of its massive lines.
    dead for the stone is dead with the dead.
    and the nile, immemorial sadness, an artefact,
    crystal ikon of a grief dissolved
    into the cataract of broken faces
    that flows ever deeper into the endless night
    like a jungle of monuments that cast
    no violent shadow against the green: pure
    lily of anguish lost in the echo of tears
    graved in the frontiers of wind and sand.
    master of the stone whose buried light
    his victory denied to the grip of his hands,
    the stone took revenge like the fatal dusk
    gazing back his own death in his lustreless eyes.
    owner of his own singular sweat,
    ultimate possessor of his own weariness,
    knowing himself denied in the eyes of the other,
    resigning his freedom to flower in the earth,
    the slave took revenge by draining in his hands
    the infinite petal in the heart of the stone.
    for the masters who required the permanent mirror of their satisfaction,
    he built a timeless house with blocks of dead stone.
    To be continued…

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