Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Whale of a Kiss (Jan. 4, 2005)

O Niamh, thy kisses were as sweet
as the blue joyous wine
of the wave of the sea-wind.

-- song of Oisin (Macleod)

Sweet sea-woman who
departed in a crashing wave,
who would have thought
your absence would sing the
whale who rides beneath
this hand, tolling love to
the trenches and ends
of all seas? Who would believe
that wounds inflicted
by the wildest kiss of all
would come to worship
far at sea not the person, nor the season,
but the brute cathedral
whose jaws frame and deepen
that door you walked out through?
Certainly not I, nor would I
wish this fate upon anyone
who would set pen to page.
St. Brendan Eastered on
the back of a whale for
seven years, that beast the
font and sacristy of all
departures seeking bliss;
Ishmael unshored from
dismal human ends
when he stepped down
into the boat in chase
of the same beast
which his captain would
at long last ride.
I’m just another scribe
upon the same scriptorium
who breeches and sounds
the salt acreage of doom.
All because of that one kiss
which woke the words
for holiness from their
Christian, modern grave.
No matter where I row
I keep shoring on the
back of this ancient whale,
my heart-rowing the
tide of his hot blood
deep in the oldest sea
of all, the one in which
I found and lost you in
three billion loves ago.
This dark swimming
has the sum power
of all waves’ crash
into deranging foam,
its ground as firm as
any shore I’ve walked.
His basso cries
from far below
stretch the tenor
of my song far beyond
the sky and moon
which listens every
morning before the
break of first light.
The beast who carries
me rides between my
thighs, between all nights
and mornings that
I sought you in.
If you ever care to
look me up, just watch
for that flash spume
out beyond the margins
of the tide where
every surf begins,
a lonely antiphon
for a long lost kiss.


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