It was never as we had expected it be.
Initially, it had appeared as the blue
The oceans had laid claim to so long ago.
So perfectly clear but with a sense of not
Being able to see at all, a miscellany of legends
Bound together to resemble fine steel but unable
To find its own way. It depended on our hands.
It was totally unaware of itself and of us.
Certainly it was to be used to take life from
Things, living things, not moon or stories
Or history for that matter, but it could change these
If it found them alone or strung out on some voice
Bound to flesh and willing to give up everything
Just to be discovered centuries later as a footnote
In a book about the sea or the defeat of, at best,
A down-at-heels empire suffering from insomnia
When the sharp edge was introduced and could
Be forced to sink into a great death.
We had the pyramids, which were certainly not
An illusion, and they were ruled by swords. Even
Islam itself and the Great Norsemen all saw
Themselves armed with the sword and always
Terribly frightened by the unknown. They wanted
Eternity but had had no lessons in it and so did
Not obey any order but their own. Campfires on
The deserts or upon the cold of blasted plains,
Drawing maps with the tips of their great blades.
But we had come here late. Few of us could speak Latin,
Read the sagas or the ancient books. We had only been
Playing at a war that started long before we discovered
Ourselves here; pulling the swords from the sand, out of the
Ice, the mud, standing in terrible rains. When the rains
Finally stopped, there were thousands of us standing
Together on an endless plain, all armed with these
Weapons, praising nightmare, building hells larger
Than any empires. We had arrived much too late.
We believed the swords to be ourselves and not others.
We live in the hollow of a dream, constantly killing
Each other, constantly weeping for losses we cannot
Understand, unable to find the words that would wake
Us, to find the curve to trouble eternity with such a single
Desire as the understanding of a single word: peace.
THE OPEN SEA
The open sea.
I should not show you
Places like this. You can find
Your own regrets without
My showing them to you
As a doorway too crowded
To pass through.
All that noise
Is your memory.
The day blackened with a trembling
Of a gambler's cards, an opening
Rose. These things made perfect
Being out at the rising of the sun.
Honor this. Tick. Tock.
They have torn the clothing
Off the sea. And all we see
Are the ships in the mouth
Of the story teller.
“What is the limit?” he says.
“Have we reached it yet?”
You can have your own galaxy
If you’d like. All you have
To do is find love someplace
Here on the earth...or even
A beautiful word.
I’ll tell you what I’ll do.
I will dream yesterday for you
If you will dream today.
I didn’t want to wake you
But there is a lot of blood coming
From your mouth.
THE YELLOW WORLD
When they tore the door off
The Yellow World
We surrounded ourselves
With flaming birds.
They quickly found wilderness.
One day was not different from another.
They annihilated the armies.
Oh Angel, Angel of light.
We came as far as the gate.
Looking into the garden,
We could see the guardians
They could not be called quietly
For what they had killed,
But they could not be forgiven.
Your mother may be in there
Looking through the eyes of the trees.
Does it matter if we find
Out the meaning?
This is sand we are walking upon.
The ecstasy is our eyes
And the echoes they toss
Back and forth. We can
Wear hunger like clothing
And no one will notice.
We are naked like yesterdays
Swept beneath the sword.
These lacerations are Sunday morning.
I will watch these battles for you.
I will tell you when they have become dust.
I will sit in the garden behind the others.
Flashing, as your landing light.
I will be your child.
You will hold me to watch
I AM NOT HERE TO TELL YOU
No one will let us pass.
I hate to tell you this, chaps,
But I don’t really have
Any idea what is going on.
The sky is looking around
For something to throw at us.
We have no weapons
That can help you now.
Our steps become quieter
And quieter until only the tiger
Can hear us walking through
Listen to that breathing.
I’m not here to tell you
Something beautiful but
I recall that years ago
Tiresias showed us a flaming bird.
Sit here for awhile again.
A flame. Look! A flame.
Some joy right under your chair,
I am beginning to feel all golden.
MY DAUGHTER GABRIELLE
TOLD ME THIS AT AGE SEVEN
Two peaches or plums
In a hat store or shop.
She said one could say
one or the other.
Firefly do your work.