Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Consider the expert in his private Library
   who at his desk with its good lamp
         and its bronze copy of a Hermes
    has filtered through all accounts of the pre-literate Belorussians
      and their counterparts, the painted  Scythians
      comparing them in a footnote
   to the more distant Lats,
this in a paragraph of his vast
    "Patterns in Comparative Religion" .
     His is a text I peruse, inconsolable,
as I try to picture your journey, well under way,
     and for all I know
          without the co-ordinates of Time and Space.
 his book was one I admired once,
and aspired to rival its euridition
        with my own  in late night studies
       and by lamplight at noon,
   the curtains drawn, like Faustus,
           in search of a key.
Consequently, I am able to follow the authorial motions
    as he strives to wear his robes lightly
           among the debris,
even as the figments of an Afterlife
     man-made and fictitious
         sprawl like a growing suburb in my brain.
Touring them in a mood such is as felt in a museum
     on a rainy day, I have discovered
time and again is to fall
     without volition
         into the collective frieze of Babel.
That sinking sensation is culture and its hierarchies
      a ritual lasting ages and consisting of armies:
         you might be a flea on an urn near a cenotaph
           a hieroglyph in a library of papyrus,
ushered in and out of incarnations like changing shirts,
     chained in a oubliette, or merely matter.
  Scanning   my mind for a clue or intuition,
        I find myself on a promontory
         viewing a city wider than the sea,
         its buildings sprouting up like crystals
    to shatter bright as diamonds in the wave.

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