Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

White Martyr (Dec. 15, 2004)

I push off here into endless white,
trusting this poem’s fate to its god,
praying only for knowledge of that will
and oars to carry the song through
to its own bare lonely rock
in the center of white heaven.
Wild and breasty the wide-armed sea,
inking my pen with blue infernity,
an ichor rising from depths below,
from the aching beyond, from
the memory of you sleeping
on white sheets in a bed I
stumbled on and lost, so many
years and lives ago. Anchorite
of those crashing shores, I wend
my way across the main
singing all your names to the bitter
wind and petrel cry, the last bit of bread
offered three days ago to waves which
forever hide the view ahead. When am I
most in your arms than in loneliest
transit here, my pen’s small prow
cutting down the page between blue lines,
singing matins to the shadow of an ache
more gorgeous than last night’s moon
hanging over all with the faintest
crescent of a smile? Outside this morning
it’s cold -- the first freeze of the winter --
a bit ago I peeked out the back french door
to see Red in the box we set up
with towels and a heating pad set
on medium -- his face miserable
and aswoon to be washed by cold above
and warmed from below. I pray the
other cats are OK, and that the garden
will survive this hard-hearted spell.
My wife and I wrapped as many as we
could last night in sheets & I set fir-boughs
cut from the Christmas tree on the lower-
laying flowers. All those lives are in this boat
with me this boat’s travail through
the worst of a cold night, with the sun
hours away and their fate our God’s
inside these hands. Such white surrender’s
the hidebound keel I drift on today,
its craft all mine and its end full yours,
the poem our bedded island bliss
between the margins of white noise
and its shore further than the one
verse martyred yesterday. Pale paps
of foam upon the cresting wave,
here is your suckling son: I hear that
crashing further on which signs today’s
next final page. A martyr ferries gods
forward on the white course of a
surrendering rage: may my mouth
open and spill the hoard of Moby
and Thor, carried from the whitemost
page you once dreamed with me
still in you. May these last words limn
the door you vanished through
with a blue sanctorum on a rock
stubborn enough to survive the sea’s
erasing, rapturous, white eternity.


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