Und Niemand weiß weiter /
And No One Knows the Way Onward
THE HOUR AT ENDOR
A point may come
when you will purse your sticky lips in vain,
the empty air, then, full of pressing mystery:
your being judged,
my being judged,
a lurid show of worry-
The circulation of the stars
draws energy transfused
from our free waywardness.
And Samuel in the hour at Endor
in the terror of that magic night,
all the gem-
And round and round she went, the witch,
of airy nothingness
until the eerie face appeared.
And Samuel gave sightless Saul to see
Saul saw himself devoured,
down to the very last singed hair
by David’s providential lightning-
Indeed – how sad it is that such should be our legacy:
this world of smouldering forest fire!
God’s judgment maps
its constant secret spread.
How sad that we so seldom
heed in time the nightmare-
King Saul, that melancholy hunter, wore a shadow-
of fear and fire and thorns.
He sought to grasp the world,
bite through its riddle-
and kill the boy who sang of things beyond.
That hour at Endor!
Here’s the twisted hunter’s torment
by the truth he still denies –
that last extremity of anguish
where the dead
return to intervene –
such muddy turbulence of soul
as may well drive one mad
in one’s impatience
to retract the past –
No reassurance will avail
when all one sees on every side
is pure apocalypse.
His heart was choked to death,
as any heart would be.
Encompassed by the stormy echo of your coming requiem,
the funerary flutter of the shadows throbbing close.
Surrendered to the moon-
a fugitive, pursued to God!
Your policy it was
which stained the sky
with hues of deadly nightshade,
sowed the land with blood-
A constant fine-
you laid your ambushes
right, left and centre,
never showed a glint of mercy for your victims.
Now the witch is whispering secrets
in the kitchen, look, and now
she’s dicing with the eyeballs of dead fish:
they’re meant as tokens
of blind godlessness.
She blows upon the ground
to drive away all thought
So she prepares
to summon up
cruel Baal instead.
Resurgent from the lurid dark
has raised a storm
of terrible reproach –
O Saul – whom God rejects –
O troubled night,
O cherubim in raggedy black plumage
pricked with diamond flames –
A skeleton with fiery magic wand
A bat flaps from its cavern-
A sulphurous dawn spreads doom across the skies.
That hour at Endor: O now hear!
A conquered warrior prepares to die –
His soul reduced to mighty pain
before the face of God.
The very graveyard worm
is touched –
A melody to ease the spectacle of death’s decay,
a jewel to decorate the lethal blade,
a dream to mask an oceanic grief –
we live in hope, remembering the ark, afloat
above the lumpen generations of the drowned.
And Jonathan, who represents
the airy grace of David’s love –
The Spirit blows where e’er it will –
And here’s a chastened worm
from out the fire
who weighs on cosmic scales
the workings of our God –
Tonight it seems that every seam has frayed,
the gag’s been ripped,
the world begins to scream.
Above Moriah, on the dizzy road to God, there floats
the flag emblazoned with a sacrificial knife:
here Abraham is screaming for his darling son.
The Bible echoes with the sound.
O hieroglyphic screams
engraved upon the lintels of the underworld.
These shattered throat-
O these hands, these finger-
dug into wildly rearing manes, to elevate the sacrifice’s neck –
the screams shut tight in shredded mandibles of fish,
the tendrils of small children’s grief,
the dragging anguish of the very old,
so many fiery slashes in the heavens’ blue, with plumes of smoke.
The dungeon walls of martyrdom,
all papered over with a nightmare-
here we’re held in rattling chains –
A screaming landscape!
from the rib-
screaming arrows, drawn
Job’s scream, north south east and west,
the Mount of Olive’s scream,
as from an insect overwhelmed.
O knife of cut-
such vast scene of blood and bones:
dry bones, dry bones –
O ashen scream from blinded visionary eye –
a tattered sun’s eclipse,
blood mixed with tears.
God hangs his washing on the line,
where all is still.
With wild honey
once upon a time
nourished those that lay embalmed.
With dollops of date wine,
a pulse of exile-
And here the stiffened wasp
is laid enclosed
in crystal shards of night –
how shall I nourish you?
as the throbbing sun
its crimson downfall.
May my downfall
nourish you –
renders all this gaping world
your grave – a place of all-
round a cradle of despair –
The world that you no longer see
has rolled away.
It’s lost to sight.
It lies beneath the waves –
Their rise and fall becomes your requiem.
A sudden breeze announces change –
and zombie hosts
begin to gather in the dark.
down the street.
These verses rear and foam –
it’s hard to bridle them!
What then ascended from the crinkled parchment of your flesh
once you had ceased to breathe
whom I still called my mother?
What lay – void of longing – there upon the linen sheet?
That open wound, your soul:
how will its dissonances merge
into the symphonies above?
Where is the wreath of your embrace?
And your translucent whisper, where?
what your weaving fingers said?
That lyric trail of loss you left behind
in your escape –
how shall I follow it?
How shall my feet break free
from clinging gravity
to hurtle up the stairs to death?
There were indeed
when we sensed the rising sap beneath the bark,
when we pushed aside the elemental curtains
that reveal eternity –
my love is spent redundantly
considering how monumental stone relates
to shorn hair,
or to this constant
of Death –
So many seas soaked into sand,
so much sand prayed hard into stone,
so many hours wept away in the sea shells’
so much of being abandoned to death
in the pearly eyes of the fish,
so many morning trumpets in coral,
so many star-
so much burgeoning glee in the gull’s throat,
so many threads of homesick desire
so much fertile soil
all for the root of the word:
behind all the tumbling screens
of the mysteries:
Behold the power of dreams:
investing passion into starlight.
Dreams help souls to breathe
as they approach
In dreams the dripping rocks
that rise and fall amidst the waves
They’ve been harpooned, they toss, they yearn,
they represent our selves, they are aflame –
But when we wake,
what will have been accomplished
for the work of Love?
can withstand such urgent energy!
But take a something
Give it eyes
spin rocks around it
let them shine
and make them
teeth of fire
to chew away the dark.
Then scratch in blood a coded message
on the cooling sky –
Write screeds in starlight
watch them fade –
Inhale the musk
absorb the epileptic aura
And then at last,
all railings left behind –
deploy the safety-
that is your Covenant.
A pounding rhythm marks this dance’s end!
now you know the meaning of it all for evermore –
There in the prophets’
you also walk.
Your ghostly sorrow
Esau’s unkempt grief.
it starts to bud.
now you know the meaning if it all for evermore –
the tattered wonders of the Milky Way,
whatever God has done
with your memories of hell!
now you know the meaning of it all for evermore –
as Rachel sings for evermore –
a song of stone-
a whispering of the waves,
you know –