Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Stone Man (2004)

Dante took his great reading
and threw it into a great peramble,
milking every pap in hell
before walking on up the
spiral stair through world to
greatest God: He wound his
learning round gnosis with
exquisite trope & meter
to harrow his story & the mind
of every man who dare passes
its first black lintel:
I’m tossing my morning’s reading
of Dante into this Well, canto
by molt canto, down into that
raging maw which devours
every words & then sings
this next poem on the
vomited-upon shore:
Dante sourced the rivers
of Hell in the Old Man of Crete,
an enormous statue composed
from the poet’s reading of
the Book of Daniel in the Old
Testament: The figure was
composed from man’s descending
ages -- gold head, shoulders
and arms of silver, bronze torso
“down to the fork” and then from
there on down iron hard as stone,
except for a right foot wrapped
in terra cotta: The whole figure
except for the head was split
by a course of tears running
down the man: He stood between
Egypt and Rome in that breech
which turns from the past
to greet the new: The tears
which split the man spilt down
and round hell, forming
Acheron, Phlegethon, Styx
and Lethe, descending
at last to the frozen lake
called Coeytus: For me
(or we) that man is
better wholly stone:
I dreamed of him long ago
when he jumped from
my expeditionary balloon
over Mystic China, dooming
me to lost aerials: And
in the turnings of my (our)
way he’s reversed his stance,
inversed on my (our) page:
What’s gold is newest
hence most fallen, the
descent of metals like
a rising pulse, renewing
down to purest iron,
the edens of stone and bone:
His face now turns back
toward oldest things,
and water springs not
from the wells of his
eyes but from that
eternally deep chasm
in his loins, & fills
my pen with titan ire:
Every age must greet
this Great Man
and make of him what
we must -- though I suspect
that we are his dream
not vice versa: Ancient
Man whose skull roots my
totem pole, father of
my fathers, source of every
cock-spring verb-thrust
horse-gallop galley-row
once and future spire
up to the feet of the lowest
God: Daniel, Dante,
David, camped on
Goliath’s furry brow
where the winds are
from the Big Bang
and the stars wait
for our song;
I’m all dizzy in my
archons’ plural wings:
Make Your long gaze
the method of my motion.
Be Lord of coming days.
Water this next way.


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