in the temple of Eros and Thanatos
Immortal volunteers and candidates,
they chime long echoes in our consciousness.
Here, two are locked. They kiss, embrace, caress.
He kneels, she squats. Another watches, waits.
Two more in passion’s combat-stress rehearse
pressures of flesh and muscle against skin.
Naked, another hurls a javelin
while two in tunics casually converse.
There, warriors in ranks ensure a king
shall make safe passage to the other shore.
In clay, wood, marble, metal, all abhor
movement (which they have passed) and suffering..
These words, though, carved like them, call out and breathe.
Life leaps here through them as they writhe and seethe.
On ground that holds me, steadying my feet,
I walk this world and breathe. The ready air
flows, follows, billows round me everywhere
assuring, reassuringly complete.
Though infinitely varied, things repeat
in rhythms, waves, expansions that they share
with all else that’s unique, beyond compare.
Each flaw, mark, stain in glass, each grain of wheat,
each mole, fold, wrinkle, every seam, crease, pleat
in nature’s fabric, every spore, pore, hair
bears its own stress, style, fingerprint, song, flare.
Miraculous, reverberating world
filled with new things unfurling and unfurled
as I walk down this ordinary street…
I dreamed I wrote
I dreamed I wrote. A poem, long, assured,
impassioned, and composed in a white heat,
poured out of me. I set it down, complete,
perfected. And breathed, as if cleared, cleaned, cured
of every ill, pain, anguish I’d endured
in making it. Surely my work would meet
acclaim, fame – recognition on the street. …
I woke. My edifice collapsed, obscured.
I wrote I dreamed. And now, though breathless, dead –
through you who read this, I wake once again
imperfect, hopeful, agonised, as then.
I can’t give you that poem, so instead
of what I’d rendered perfect in my sleep
I offer you this hint, mere glint, to keep.
Now, hollow drum, old knot, new pleated fold,
mere point, fine spectrum, radiating waves
through time’s continuum, and vast loom that weaves
new fabrics on this energetic field
matted through matter, uncoiled and unfurled
across the moving patterns of our lives,
no sooner swells and breaks than ebbs and leaves,
self-emptying each instant it has filled.
Is this then nothing but the drum the dream
of being batters out its morse upon?
Since now repeats with neither gap nor seam
between (within) each wave, its antiphon,
eliding all nows on a curved light beam,
how then can now be ousted or outshone?