THE STONE

THE STONE

           I.

The sun goes down

Too soon, too soon.

Little comfort comes from the feeble moon.

Vast images of the Zodiac

Labor dimly overhead

Grinding flesh and spirit

Until all those images are dead.

But here the cold serenity

Of angels encompasses me.

On this long-travelled night

I welcome their solemn divinity

On this night of final prayer

When I lay myself down

To conjoin this bickering flesh

With this ghost-strewn,

This devouring ground.          

 

Ecstasy, I abjure you!

Ambition I deny you!

Weary of fury I lay me down,

O angels, I pray you, devour me wholly:

Heart, limbs, entrails, brains and bones!

Reform me into the enduring earth;

Its silts, its sands it’s crumbled stones

That I may, for a half moment of eternity,

Be the least part of that imperturbable,

Oblivious fecundity.

        Break axis and axle, Beast!

                    Stone, drop away!

 

           II.

A man beats out his life

Bound in a stone-cracking job

That his image may content

A quarrelsome, indifferent mob.

Can any man but see himself

As an image in another’s eye?

No, I reject that

Though there’s more in it

Of half-truth than whole lie.

Live we by half-truths then

Since halves are all we have.

Laboring men can seem wise and content

Their images to save.

 

And when blood, bone and breath

Dry up and wither in a span,

When spirit murders substance

So eager it is, so insistent to be gone

Mummy-wrapped in bestial images

Does intuition of a greater purpose stir

As all things bound unravel?

        Break axis and axle, Beast!

                    Stone, drop away!


 

© ImSJ 2020
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