Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Last of the Troubadours

Those who recall the century that’s past
so rich in deeds, so full of charms, and then
compare it with our age so poor in men,
so sad, a bad age which promises at last,
to comfort us, with an age still worse by far.

-- Piere Cardenal, “Ensanhamen d’Onor” (c. 1270)

The song dies on my lips. I
see nothing now of shores
in this dry world, no
glint of smile or gossamer
descent: The gauze has
fully here unspooled,
curved beneath the wave
to drift, wraith-like, among
the tombs and weed.
Where is that bird now
which rose so proud
each day to sing your matins,
carving with his voice
both glade and chapel,
bed and blade, plunge
and buttery blue swoon?
Gone now, flown, I guess,
to younger worlds, more
devoted cares than I have
heart or hurt to alm. What
remains is an endless tide
of paper waves, this effigy
of self cut out and taped
to a curling, paper shore.
A single of draft of
sterile verse which I here
ball and toss into the wastecan
of an age, patient now with
the rest of the trash to
be hauled from empty rooms.
No more an ocean-seaming
man, the sea’s my moon-bare heart,
a boneless parody of wash
and pour devoid of love or art.
How long have you waited
for me at last to end? And what,
dead numen of the only shape
I could draw with this tongue,
what will you at last begin?


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