Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, November 29, 2004

Tincture Of The Abyss (Nov. 29 2004)

... Four-and-twenty from Munster who
went with Ailbe upon the sea to find
the land which Christians never dwell ...

... The confessor who Brendan met in
the promised land, with all the saints
who have perished in the isles of the ocean ...

from “The Litany of Oengus,” 6th century

Ferry that tincture here, muse
of equinoctal silk. Ladle black
lactissima from those heavy
breasts barely obscured by
an unbuttoned and bottomless
blouse. Pour in my ear those
three degrees between deep
night and first light. May
my pen refrain that booming
choir which sings night and
day in the Cathedral of
the Sea, a lavish organum
of wave and boulder
on shores no man has walked
nor named, much less
scant dreamed. Throat
that sea-black color
in my voice that I
may sing the wildest
isling of them all,
the one with cliffs
no one has climbed
and a well within
of such sweet silver
that one drink sates
300 years of desire.
I peer in that blueblack
mirror and the fishtailed
man stares back, his
seal-eyes pent on cod
and raven, his smile
like a bell proclaiming
every hoof and fin
that steeples holy hell.
Salt Ys, strike that blue
noir note from the
hard prong aching
in the sea’s vast legs
--that boom in every
wave’s orgasmic crash
resounding down the shore
of this life between
the massings of
consonantal stone
and the liquid plash
of what cannot in
words be known. The trick
is not to follow Lycidas
to the hollows of that
wild sound; to brew
sea trouble in a vat
or skull for ages long
enough to tincture
3 drops here: Enough to
shod each wave’s resound
with lines hooved loud enough
to reach at last your ears.


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