Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

JARCHA (REFRAIN) (Jan. 5, 2005)

In an old song a woman’s voice
began the tune, a phrase from
which the singer built his ark
of verse, fashioning a whale
of sorts part spleen part balls
part pure romantic blubber.
He’d end the song with
her refrain, rephrased in
what was called the jarcha,
words for her words
which were meant to
be sung by a woman,
a ,em>cantiga de amiga
to voice your love for me
upon the whale you bid
me ride -- Very wise
singer indeed! The ends
of my poems are hollow
of those words, an ebbing
surf which sounds deeply
the door you walked
forever out; a sad,
tidemongering affair
of bleeding heart and
profuse art trying to
staunch waves with
lines of maidenhair.
How shall I refrain
the words you left me
with, you who said
nothing but simply
pulled me close
into river’s ocean-
pounding pour?
“Here you go,” the
dream offered, the night
before I found you again,
years and bottles and
guitar-strings later, that
flotsom of every night
“Not Here” signaled
from every shore?
Home again at long last!
—the voyager’s dauntless
prayer. I’ve swum with that
whale, and sounded far
with him: seen every
wonder of the deep
between the ribs of hell.
Gasping and spluttering
I’ve wakened this
dazzling shore in the pure
light of high summer,
a glitter of aching blue
where you are nowhere
and everywhere to be found,
like an ancient sip of wine
that drowns every age
and kills the smoking brand,
tempering and sharpening
that ache for you
which transits all shores,
all songs, all ends
in endlessness, that tidal
crash and ebbed refrain
you whispered in the
roaring darkness we once
embraced. How did you
lift it, like a well-bucket
from my abyss? You
smiled and moved your
lips as I quaked and
erupted a spume of
whale-deep bliss: you
smiled and held me close
and whispered Yes, oh Yes ---


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