Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Alchemical Journey

You’ve moved
As if your feet were lead
That dragged   and marked
All your wanderings:

On sooty pavement
Sand   and black loose soil
Up stair treads   across beige carpets

The snail-like silvery tracings
Forming a strange hieroglyph,

Its involutions   turnings
Abrupt right angles
A labyrinth

Into which   year by year
You plunge deeper
Hopeless of Ariadne.

Your soles sigh on the grit
Of the Bridge of Sighs
Above the black hulls of somnolent

Leave metallic half-moons
Disappearing abruptly
On the verge of train tracks
Leaden lacunae of departures
And arrivals.

Inward   through the maze
Of your wanderings
Toward the Minotaur,
That shadowy  echoing energy

Baying like a caged hound
Just around the next corner
Of the blackened ramps and
Cobbled arteries of your heart.

When   in terror and weariness of years
You reach the dark central cell
Perhaps in some narrow rising street
Of shuttered doors

In icy Mistral
Clutching a thin coat,
It is the faint glow of your own steps
That lights you.

Watery light reveals an old woman
With swollen legs
Tending pink geraniums.
A freighter in Marseilles harbor
Mouths a smoky OM.
There is a smell of fish.

Brought to bay in the final vortex
Of your flight
You reveal yourself to yourself:

How you’ve always brought you light
Through darkness.

Lead is transmuted;
Water turns to wine;
Labyrinth becomes mandala
From whose center

Your heart opens in terrible beauty
A vermillion rose
A mass of liquid fire.

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