The Gate

This is a work in progress.  Two of three parts have been completed.

 

Prelude, Poem, Postlude

For L. T.

 

“O sages standing in God’s holy fire

As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,

And be the singing-masters of my soul.”

(“Sailing To Byzantium,” W. B. Yeats)

 

“Ich komme, Ich komme”

(“Daphne,” Richard Strauss)

 

Prelude

 

Hungry, gnawing the iron unsated,

Rust is eating deep into the hinges.

That squeak and whine to the touch,

Becomes a screech which mimics

Unspeakable pain, when, ever so slowly,

A healthy hand pushes outward.

A ruse, this brace is not a rib of bones.

The ill fitting gate scrapes the concrete,

Persistently resisting.

 

I would leave this dusk, neither twilight nor dawn.

Pushed aside, still sticking out,

The gate is a vagrant sentinel.

Ahead, I see merely a meaningless street,

Which seems hardly worth any effort

To follow its various leads.

But, to the right, through metal grates,

I am granted a sight I would seek:

The heaven’s blue, imbued with light.

 

Or, if I step around, the view behind bars

Is the darker hue of water, a harbor

Which is lit with golden glints,

Above a hint of the blackest of graves.

The smithy at his forge, like an angel,

Calculated his geometries, ad infinitum.

His artifice of disk and square, above,

Below an iron bar, repeats, until the pattern

Is stronger than the metalwork itself.

 

It is a binding command:  “Thou shalt not pass

To either place.  Go then, traverse the street

With the rest.”  As a thing which reminds,

The gate is about to decay clean away.  No matter;

I shall remember.  I shall always remember,

And find my pith by singing a singular verse

To the company I keep, be they mate or muse.

Sadly, as if he were only a mosaic on a memorial,

The smithy my guardian, I fear I cannot know.

 

His parting gift, a stylized leaf, a glyph he repeats

Again and again to make a row, now red with rust.

Blessed, I acknowledge, bowing my head from below.

Taking leave, smelling the musk of rotting leaves

At my feet, as I must, into the dusty street I go.

Like a hobo alone, I should whistle myself along.

I hum the hymn instead, and birth a world

Of whirling shapes sustained by veins of song.

They coalesce, only to wither within my whispered,

 

“Where to?”  I quest for a compadre.

Though my gait be the hesitant limp of one lame,

But hear me!  Fearlessly tell me I’m home.

 

I come now.  Yes, I come.

 

January 17th – February 17th, 2015

February 19th – March 4th, 2015

 

Poem

 

Gyre.  This pyre.  Its fire higher.

Resins of incense incinerate.

A smoke curls, hovering above.

Scent smothers the stench of saints,

Strung, then torched, on stripped, silent trees.

Their confessions wailed, circling outward

From their crucifixions.  An echo

Still insinuates our staid but holy hymns.

I course through the choruses,

A dervish of embellishing song.

 

(Discarded second verse)

Palm fronds.  A waving throng.

Waving wildly for another

Who has ridden before me.

How long until they see me?

Will some realize that he who rode

Ahead was but a herald of the singer?

My raiment shimmers like leaves

In the summer rain.  A song is unfolding,

Each limb is embolding a commandment:

Cursed to be Holy, Rejoice!

 

Finale

Save me.  Save me from this gyre.

Is the fire a pile of incendiary pages?

A ravaging poetry?

No.  Each will reach the holy fire of Hell,

Named Love.

 

Postlude

 

I follow the star of the morning

Unto the gape upon a wood.

There, an inner cave of trees aglow,

I pass into a twilight illuminated by dawn.

Where the wind bows a bough to to me,

Three birds appear.  They sing

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

Do I hear them sing of me?

If my songs falls the long fall from heaven

And is buried in books of the past,

May I become a servant of the Silence,

Restored for all poets called to be.

 

The birds alight.

Their whirling shapes are beautiful.

They leave the harbor of this arbor

And sail the heaven’s blue.

It is a pity there is no god to hear them sing.

Just us.  In time,

We place our hands to hide our aging face;

Then, ever so humble, we crumble as if crust.

 

2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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