Thursday, December 8, 2011

Extra Wise and Far Away

Lady of the wilderness, wife of nomads,
Queen of the desert and scribe of hell, read me 
That bit again about the forest's revenge,

The part you left out of those other stories
Of intemperate gods, lusty goddesses,
Homo affectionate kings and wild men tamed,

You know, in between where the dreams go missing
And where the surviving king screws up his quest
To find the secret to living forever.

How is it the cedars let us cut them down,
Even without gods or demons to guard them?
What secret rarer than life could they save?

I know there must be a tablet left somewhere
Among the kings' crowns piled in the House of Dust
Where you recorded some wisdom cut trees kept

And will keep until the time comes when deserts
And wastes, dominions of scribe and sepulcher,
Have covered the world and been covered themselves.

Then lost, long-buried seeds will stir that waited,
Like the dinosaurs' feathers and mammals' teeth
To make possible the next order of things

For the ageless metaphor, Atrahasis,
God-tricker, shell-builder, code-carrier, life,
To set loose from fresh mountaintops far away.

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