Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Friday, January 28, 2005

Three Great Cups (Dec. 2003)

Three great cups of
song I found down
Oran’s boneyard well --
today I call ‘em History,
Mystery and You.
One drink passes
from one to other;
poured thrice it
draughts the sea-sufficient,
shore-embedding song
Saint Oran freighted
back from pagan Hell.
Three doors open
to one descending
stair which always
leaves me dripping here.
One’s boat-shaped,
the next has strange
hooey for a handle,
the third is painted
the wildest blue.
Which cup today?
I check the view.
It’s dark and cold
and windy outside
as winter settles down
so hard and aged,
a bitter rasp of
scythe and sorrow
which makes homeowners
across town
burn their Christmas
lights all night, as
if to fend ice-wolves
and worse away.
Boozing here was
always most desperate,
chilling my heart
deeper than it could
go with a thirst for
a heat outside
in the night which
proved its own,
a dark cold drank
through rawest bone.
I nearly died once
on that pole of lost-soul
ice, on nights like
this blowing down
from Canada. Winds
like these once sailed
me from darkest rooms
to dreariest ends,
desperate for some
other, any breasty
yeasty embrace, to
harbor a dead man’s
cold bones. Then I
swooned and slept,
and fell into a dream
of white beaches framed
in folding blue. A
woman rose from
that magic tide,
wet and naked and
smiling in an invitation
which hauled me
back or in or round
some vernalling Cape,
exacting real blood
from my once so-frozen
heart. Yet She was
never there when
I made good, turning
to stand to face love’s
most mortal muse.
Instead the strangest
music wove the
empty air, sweet as
a chaste kiss on
her divinely vanished
rear: A song inside
the sonic boomage
of no surf I had
yet engaged but
knew right then
I would, or somehow
had below the
life I thought I led
from day to day to day.
Three cups of Oran
intern me here,
skulls, if you will,
to draught the
deepest waters of
that bone-chilling well:
One accounts for
all I lost in passage
at the oar; the next
sieves shouting gods
in the surf’s incessant
roar; and the third
I save for You on
this final mantle
which some day
You’ll stand next
to, having sauntered
through the door
inside my wife’s
bitching, banality
and cries -- And
You’ll be nude at
last of all your rooks
and ruses, dissolved
of all Your dissoluting
selves, Your
eyes all vim and
blue ocean fuses,
Your hand which
may then hold mine
reaching for the fate
no sea requites
nor ever quite refuses.


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