Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Song of Adam

"Prometheus" - after Burne Jones
© 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

I recited what the trees had told me
 the lessons I had learned from travel
  and the pages of too many dusty novels

I stood to watch you kneel and hold me
 I saw a cloud ambush the sun
  and trap it in a tuft of heather
I turned the human zero into One

I let the eagles feed upon my liver


Out of the darkness an iron rain came lashing
 breaking on these broken shoulders
  chained amongst these sacred boulders
   eyried in the hollows of these mountains

Out of the brightness a crystal rain came slashing
 refracted light on glass, then crashed
  on cinders washed away to dust and ash
   among these dancing fountains

Then the thunder spoke again:
 sound of iron melting
  hard and blue as sky
 sound of crystal clattering
  of hearts
          of mirrors
in the hurricane’s closed eye:

“Behold the spikes of wood
          that nail me
                    to the weary rock

Behold the split claw
          scratching on a blemished rock
Behold the smell of Eden burning”

Fruit hangs dead upon the branch
 a maggot crawls
  rotten heart from rotten heart -
   aye, a worm turning


“For years,” she told me, “I have pressed
   my fingers against frosted glass; lest
      I should fail to find life sweet
   I have watched the fishes dance in pools
      and laid my bait for lovers - fools
   who thought that they could make my life complete

“But life grows bitter
   Whenever tempted now I pluck the fruit
      I lay my bait for fishes, weigh their scales
   gamble on their heads and tails;
      and eating my own meal with boiled roots
   I watch the eagles feed upon your liver”


The sound of metal shattering
 like shields clattering
  against this metal roof

The sound of falling stones
 as hard and white as broken bones
  against a breaking tooth

Behold! the gods have stolen fire
 out of the Titan’s phoenix-pyre
  unleashing its entire secret upon men

Beware! the serpent in the mire
 eating fruit to his heart’s desire
  washing his hands of innocence again


When suddenly the serpent hesitates
 pausing on the edge of disbelief
Powerless against this greater evil
 he tries to engage the darkness
  as a temporary conscience -
   and fails of course
Goodness has usurped destruction’s throne
 Evil cannot even dream stalemate

Now there is only my mouth
 brushing her mouth in a final tenderness
  as I press my fingers against frosted glass
   and pluck the fruit

How the dust eddies in the wind!
 You can touch its flaking limbs
  You can smell its rotting flesh
    You can taste its stinking breath
     You can see the eye cave in
right there
 where the dust-eddied hurricane begins

                    volcanoes cascading
     lava tall as mushrooms

     bells tolling
                    all of it just as we had expected

“Look,” she calls
   “there is blood on my apple”
      holding out to me a juicy worm

Lightning miraculously breaks my chains
   thunder drives the eagles to the sea
Again lightning - striking twice - again
   and shattering all life and death
all knowledge, every human breath
         tears down the tree


Behold a serpent, creeping stealthily through dust
Behold the red shadow on the rock
Behold the storm-wrecked garden
Behold a man and woman, naked
Behold the rain, still rattling its chains
 But the mountains are empty now
  The firmament is void
   Only the archaeological remains

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Copyright © 2016 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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