27 May 2018

Duet

I.                   Ocean Giants

Consider, man, the music of the whale
How he neither bellows nor whispers
And yet his voice carries
From deep to deep

When he thumps his mighty trunk
He dashes a man’s soft head against a rock
The white foam hastens to form his casket
And carries him swiftly into the elemental abyss.
A murder without a murderer, victim, or witness
Consider, man, the horror of My holiness.

The oceans declare the wonder of God
And the deep proclaims His mysteries
The tempest may disturb the surface
But in the deep no sound is heard
Squid and sperm spar savagely
Their blood is spilled in silence.

Consider, man, the river-sprites on the frontier
Whose only vice is mischief. It delights them,
To bend to your will, their ways are not implacable
They fill their bellies with freshwater, a digestible thought,
Clear, penetrable, lucid, benign, female.

The salt-sea giants are older, crueler.
Great barnacled beasts with ragged bladder-beards
They make tidal strides at the nadir of the sea
Crashing their heads together just fathoms below the surface
But their shriveled feet tread the dark carpet unseen,
Where the natural light has faded.
Hideous, black, twisted, tentacled thing!
I would not meet one, would thou,
Who art a mere man?

II.                Silver and Gold

The motley grizzly of the earth
Runs a certain manly course
The spring berries, and summer salmon
And honey during harvest-moon.
He does not deviate from the habits of men
And though he’s safe beneath the firs
He has forgotten, he has forgotten.

The Greater She-Bear of the sky
Never bathes in th’ ocean wave
Her white neck is outstretched ever North
She knows that life abides in the colder
Regions, where the air is thin
No-one who has drunk from the heavenly hives
Shall ever thirst, shall ever thirst again.

The bees of the earth make gold
But the bees of the stars make silver
Stringing their polygons in spirals for
pedestrians who comb
Along the shores of space. They make
Food fit for their make: planets are like
Pebbles to them: they weave their wax
Out of suns, and the sun is their home.
For the bees of the stars know their art
They know that the temper of celestial milk
Must last them a longer winter than
            their urban cousins.

Gold is young, but silver is old
Gold is warm, but silver is cold
Gold is better, or so we are told:
Gold is good, but silver is gold.

The bees of the earth make gold
But the bees of the stars make silver
What mad pursuit? I’ll wonder no more
At the fiery hunt. The boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.





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