Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Lay of Ayishah (6)

"Face 600" © 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

I hunted for you everywhere
                          my love
in flesh, in flowers,
     in nights of lonely contemplation

I hunted for you
               and I found
only my own loneliness
     waiting for me in the darkness
              like a knife

I crossed hills and woods and deserts
          searching for you
I forded the very sea of death
          searching for you
I rode the iron railroad for you
     and broke my jaw against its jaw

          searching for you                                  

I who believed in nothing
     learned how to believe in Love
          for your sake

I worked for three years as Death’s ferryman
   tugging the sun’s ark through the sky’s bulrushes
      in the hope that I might one day see you
through the doorway in the tunnel of the cave

But no - the loneliness remained

At night I would lie upon my bunk
   pressing the wood of my own bones
      and the straw of my own flesh
against the scarecrow of my loneliness
listening to the barking of the guns
   and the laughter of Cerberus
      as one more
                        and still one more
                                                  broken body
sought its healing consummation
   outside the gates of Love

By day I resumed my journey
   hunting for you in forest, field and fjord

I swam the whole length of the stinking sewer
     for you
dined on toad and nettle
          for you
made my companions among the badgers in the wood
               for you

And then at last I saw your shadow
   caught up in the shadow of a thousand shadows
      in the dim light of the greyness of a silhouette

You ran ahead of me
   and I could not help but follow

You entered the mouth of the cave
   where daylight flowers
and suddenly I was struck
   by the true nature of my deed
the world from which I was smuggling you away

Like Lot’s wife I could not restrain myself
   from turning round and looking back
and in that instant of your disappearance
   through the tunnel of my heart
         the pillars of my heart turned into stones
                    and I was lost

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