he was master with the master,
who ordered that his heart be carved
in the triangle of its own substance:—the stone’s confusion
of the eternal with its own immobility, the dead perfection
of the cosmic rhythm, the self-satisfaction of rock,
the sheolian wager of eternity, the stone’s infinite death,
and the world’s memory. and with the slave.
he was equally the slave who hewed and shaped his daily bread
into his soul’s infinite depths, out of the impasse of petrified masters,
through the stone to its denial.his blood it was decided him.
for blood is deeper than stone, and the name,
abraham’s legacy, more encompassing
than a nile of dead ceremonies. amon re he killed
in the egyptian who killed a kinsman.
and thus did he begin the precipitous journey
to the extremity of his word, he, moses.
he was the strongest mortal of them all.
he wrestled with the great river and conquered
the torrent of his own blood that with those men of sheol
would only know the circular glory
of paying tribute to the ocean’s crystal repetitions.
the broad intractable back of that great river he broke.
he sucked into the veins of his soul broader than all the oceans
the eternal foliage of that once mighty river
that it may not be lost in the millennial boredom of the boulders of the sea.
for of this he was the first to know: marooned in its own luminous monotony,
circular and lucid even in the crest of its immense ferocities, the sea,
incapable of being astonished, not by the thunderbolt, not by a hurricane gale, for nothing
can really wound and tear it away from itself, the sea,
swirl of fluid transparency that swallows all and ever falls back only upon itself,
the sea is a prisonhouse of the spirit, and were it not for the moon
would have been as narrow as a grain of crystal, the cut of glass.
he was the zenith of the nile, the deepest gift of the fertile crescent.
and when he left the vessel that bore him, he, the infinite fruit of time
whose ripening depths no worldly depths could hold,
the once vital waters, rippling blood of amon re’s dominions,
were without lustre and dead. no longer was the nile the flowing grace
of the once-dreaded gods. no longer were the gods the fullness of being they used to be
to his pharaohnic soul. ocean beyond oceans his heart.
in it the nile was drowned in the waves of an absence
like a dead tear engulfed by the abyss. no river,
not a hundred thousand niles could irrigate
the infinite desert of his unfettered soul.
with akhenaten, firstborn of the sun, the fullness of the stone he lived.
and with akhenaten, beyond the sun, its lucid nothingness, the anguish,
the petrified will of the pyramid. oak in the oak’s heart, cedar within cedar,
cambium gift of millennial rings, fire erect on the leaves of night
risen voice from carboned time, root of man come to utterance:–
he had lived till then in the valleys of his heart the rhythmic festival of plants.
but always and equally he existed in the margins of the desert.
torn between the pyramid’s ceremony of death,
the stone’s fulfilment of immobile peace,
the ordered coming and returning of things,
the awesome geometry of circular silence,
the charted geology of elemental wills,
and the desert’s nomadic anguish:—his opening soul was a turmoiled vastness,
his heart of water and sandstorm was wounded space, was a wilderness;
man was in him a disjointed earth,
man was in him an estranged ocean, torn an infinite distance
from itself. he was the nile, bearer of gifts, clarity of the forest, pyramidal essence,
derailed derailed infinitely into an infinite loss,
into an infinite quest, into the endless desert and he,
bearer of the terrible key to the doors of eternal night,
no longer could his rest be measured in the green and crystal rhythm
in the ceaseless growth and dying of the vegetal essence.
stone beyond stone, fire in the heart of fire,
eye in the eye of the tempest, will in the will of wind,
nothing could give him rest now save the unfettered flight
of the soul to its unseen measure…
singular flower, depth of rigid silence,
calcined smile on the lips of the wind,
the pyramid had assembled all the elements , but lo!,
it was a temple of death! he was the pyramid, the summit of stone,
he was the nothingness it failed to compass,
he was its crack from base to apex,
he was the chasm no stone could enclose,
he was man emerging from the stone to himself,
he was the soul of man drawn out of the waters, he, moses.
between the stone and man was the red sea;
and he broke out of the sheol of stone,
and he shattered the calm face of the waters,
the calm face of the waters with yahweh he cleaved
and halved with the infinite edge of the word
and man in his depths he let cross on dry land.
he the drawn one had man drawn out of the waters,
he the firstborn of the unseen light did man deliver
unto the land of yahweh, dominion of light,
unto canaaan flowing with milk and honey,
unto the covenant, navel of light, he, moses…
between man in his depths drawn out of the waters
and man in his deepest depths in the unseen light,
between man loosed from the elements
and man attuned to the unseen measure;
between man and man in his deepest manhood,
was the desert. and he, the sojourning one,
father to gershom by zipporah the well of time,
he led man, his people, through the desert’s arid night,
through forty years of anguish, till at last before the mount of light,
man encountered himself in the abysmal gulf
that joins and sunders man and god…