Und Niemand weiß weiter /
And No One Knows the Way Onward
the fresh dream-
Ribs, skin, eyeballs
our whole history
a wound re-
WINGS OF PROPHECY
flapping, snatched from death.
The sable hats
a stir of sea.
a lullaby –
a plunge upon the strand
between the stabs of light
the great black wounds.
Upon the tongue
of spicy song
a breath of the beyond.
has become the Pleiades at prayer –
Israel, you’re no mere land.
More, a thirst for soul-
Here volcanic midnight
surges through the opening grain, towards
attuned to fierce night-
Your mountains gallop through.
They toss their blinkered heads
and puff eternity.
Their flanks are milky white
with children’s prayers.
Your wastelands hide a dream of paradise,
preserved in salt-
of leaving Eden, lost.
And God’s original
still lingers in the feathered air –
Back with spade in hand
and to construct,
to realise at last the dreams
that point the sacred way
Back home amidst your sands,
your mirage memories,
beneath the lowering warfare
of the angel hosts,
and fiery night-
eloquent of God.
garlanded with dark
of a myriad vintages to come …
Here it lies, the apple’s core.
Sleep sinks its starry fangs
into our dreaming flesh.
But, come what may, the psalm-
and all its paths:
This radiant source –
tossing up the sand
impatient for that promised day
when all the dead like dandelion seed
will float out on the breeze,
and prayerfully wing their way
back here once more –
In a nimbus of light, surrounded by the dark, the four matriarchs shared the mikvah with his mother. So it was that she conceived him, from the star-
Abraham the Angel!
Master of extremity,
God’s terrible intransigence
has catapulted him across the night,
with nothing but a smouldering palm leaf
crumpled in his hand.
He owns the dream.
Then he breaks through it –
as a meteor –
spiralling to God.
He circles round his own eternal calling
like an eagle round a golden prize.
And yet, what torment, too:
so much is left behind!
The silver loveliness
of possible domestic bliss –
The bronze attractions
of ancestral piety:
its glittering enclosure of the skies –
But now, O Abraham the Angel,
now – your blood is truly up!
Your mikvah is a plunge
into the mystery of mysteries.
You step out to the very rim.
The watching crowd begins to stir
as you prepare to leap, to somersault, to fly –
Confronted by a world of glassy artifice,
again, you rub and rub until, behold!
a living rose appears
which, with a flourish, bowing you present to God –
Still midnight on this star
under the martial law of sleep.
And few indeed among the great despairers
ever loved enough
to crack night’s granite altogether open
with the slicing antlers of their lightning.
One such was Elijah: up, out of the juniper, he sprang,
who for his people’s sins
dragged bloodstained chunks of yearning in his wake,
so many ripped-
like a moonbeam shining on his weary frame
sustained him as he toiled
to sweep the shallows home –
And Christ! Head bowed
upon the incandescent cross –
the rock of ages
with a sagging jaw:
Daniel, who knew infinity,
amongst the stones of Israel,
was a land at home with death.
He gathered relics
from the ruined angel-
and so restored
his people’s sense of destiny.
Daniel could sense the dreams
concealed in slagheap-
Daniel, to teach the Babylonian king to read,
employed a script
of running blood and leaping flame.
Daniel knew all the labyrinthine intercourse
of torturer and damned.
Daniel, we need your inspiration now –
to guide us through
the looming dark.
(prologue to Abram im Salz)
reduced to salt and skeletal remains:
beneath the silver stairway
of the moon
a pillar still commemorates
the lost Chaldean hordes –
their hapless sleepy
drift into the blue –
And in the dust
an archaeologist will find
rich patterned cloth
of royal weave,
The neck for which
this lavish splendour was devised
is now amongst
of phantom memories –
But there in Abram’s ear
the music of the spheres
swilled round and round –
and dizzied him
until he dropped –
the victim of a death
that is in fact
the very breath of life –
MYSTERY BREAKING FORTH FROM MYSTERY
ZOHAR: THE CHAPTER ON CREATION
His pen, his scalpel cut.
The writer of the Zohar surgically drew blood,
pulsing, from the unseen circulation
of the stars, gathered in a cup
the words, the homesick sparks.
The grave split open, the alphabet arose,
each letter was an angel, each a crystal shard,
each held refracted droplets dating from Creation.
These sang. And there, within, glowed
ruby, jacinth, lapis lazuli,
so many scattered seedlings
not yet stone.
And night, the blackest tiger,
roared; and wounded day
lay writhing there,
in pools of light.
The shining was a mouth tight shut.
An aura, only, showed God hid within the soul.
Then she unwraps, as if from linen sheets
enfolding life and death,
the lettered body, chrysalis
to swaddle it once more, in love-
just as mothers do; whose grief is luminous.
Is this a summer’s child? Or winter’s? Either way,
rough waves of boundless hope keep rolling in.
And then each heart-
and then she stripped great strands of ivy off the Bible monuments,
and then she saw the world reduced to fire and water, sand and air,
and saw the empty sea from star to star:
vast solitudes; and then she saw
in every pleading eye the urge to fly,
in every leaf that fell a fond farewell,
and then she saw the falcon’s flight
that ages past had set this world alight –
And Metatron the highest of the angels
five hundred miles in height
just wafts his wings
of feathered fire
and out the all-
the oceanic flood of love!
And then, from that, the measured
the brightness breaks – the words begin to bleed
and life is born –
And Jacob after he had wrestled in the blazing gloom
could only limp: a dingy tale from long ago.
And we, alas, have darker tales.
No one breaks through to God without a fight,
but least of all from this black swamp –
‘Let there be light’: the constellations’ intermittent pulse portrays
our dislocated, bruised – and limping – gait –