Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Song of the Alchemist-Apothecary (2)

"Ari Ben Aaron, Self-Portrait, 1981"
© 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

I have few observations to make tonight -
 and these through the wrong end of the telescope

How the motions of the planets become
          and infinite
 turning mechanically upon spirals
  and amid vortices
   and among stars

How the names come down from generation to generation
            gaining nothing
                         losing nothing
                                          simply coming down

How the rod of Aaron became a stem of flowers
 and then a shepherd’s crook
                         and then a wand
               and then a devining instrument
          and finally my own pen

How Tiresias went down to the Piraeus with Glaucon son of Ariston, and said a prayer to Isis, and stood a while watching the ass-festival, and imagined that he saw his own likeness, reflected in a pool of muddy water.

               How I wait here tonight
                as I have waited every night
                 (and each night is the same
                                                    yet different)
               watching the orbits of the hourglass
                counting the sand’s gyrations
                 touching the ciphers of your name

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