01 April 2012

The Riddle of Sand

Angel of Broken Stones
“So heavy the burden I bring with me from the past,
I doubt that I should make these vows for the future.
                                                     – The Tale of Genji

I am the eater of days,
Father of the Indefinite roads of Time,
Consuming hourglass moments and sundial liquor.
As I let the ages run down a throat
Dry with ancestors dust and the heat of being,
I swallow sand and time,
Drinking dust
Drinking dust
Tasting in it steel and blood,
Diamonds and lead-
Sweet sepulcher wine.
I bring a song of kings and battles                                              
Sung in the voice of the outer world,
War and warriors all fall forgotten, water upon the sand
While my wings beat
And stir the other side of the light.
I am the arbiter of dreams,
Sender of the dark sundrinkers
That sail through the cold, impotent ashes
Left after the living fire of the Childe of Night
Turned the men of dust into the dust of men.
We seek the jewels of the desert, the roses of the sand.

II: Swords in the Hand of God
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere”

I teach of the powers that were,
The debt of their sweat in the
Smell of leather and iron.                                                                      
All kingdoms crumble to dust,
All systems fail
All governments fall into ruin while the spiders spin,
While the talking heads rage,
And the people argue political theory
And are mummified by pundit’s dry wit;
Desiccated democracies lie atop moldy monarchs
In time’s pantry.
Ragged heads plied free of dented crowns
Pay the only price of power,
Feast on shadows spun in ruined rooms
And are never sated-
Their great genetic dance ended.
Fear beyond the fear of battle, heavy and wearisome,
Drives them, now barefoot by the great red pillars,
Toward high places in the world below
Bought with freedom, paid for with liberty.
See them hang there, tied by a hair above Damocles,
Knowing something of war and much of sorrow.
I am weaving a living tapestry
To stand in the eye of your heart,
Testament to days of electrons and steel and
To the blood in my fist that flows everlasting.
There were days when the sun beat upon Yggdrasil,                               
And dried the mud at the base of the Well of Fate
With the necessity of being,
Making the dust that swirls ‘round the boots of Tyr,
The sandals of the savage ballet,
And rises to choke the elm and the ash
And goad the stunted hawks and wolf-skinned men.
I weave Fenris unfettered,
Sun and moon swallowed, wisht-hound devoured,
Stolen from the great Falcon upon the ramparts of the house
Of him of the hidden name
And all time gone away.
All men into dust, all steel into rust,
Running through the hands of Him of Western Sands,
Falling in the shadow of the dunes.

I weave thread of life and illusion,
Dyed in the blood,
On a loom grown old,
Into shrouds and standards for the jackals of Wepwawet,
Last gowns of this age,
Sanctified in law of might. 

III: Bones on the Journey of the Einherjar
Only the dead have seen the end of war.”  --Plato

We are those, forced to rise
From the dust with empty eyes,
Trudging through valleys, by rat gnawed,
In the name of atomic jihad.

We shrug the coins from our eyes,
Following priests, trailing magi,
Our paths laid, our will enthralled,
Swept up in the rage outside of Riyadh.

Shields in hand, we followed Mars,
His blood and sword our lodestars
As we trudged forth out of Valhalla,
To the battle on the plains of Mecca.

We are the ever-reborn never mourned,
The broken soldiers of forgotten wars
Who follow happily the Opener of the Ways,
An army of martyrs at the end of days.

We squash the earth and its kindly fruit,
Finding solace in knotted knouts,
Led by lost souls on, to Acacia,
To bend our knees before Allah.

From out the seared and broken lands,
Toward the seared and broken lands,
Beneath the branches of stilted banyan,
Upon the plain under the hill of Geddon,

We march, sand upon the water drying,
To where all the old illusions are dying.
Where battle is with righteousness combined,
The blood of gods flows with Man’s entwined.

We have through these three winters passed,
Deity and disciple both with fate forecast,
Here to die on a day without sun,
A moonless night, a battle never to be won.

We are all here, the wasted seed,
Wasted where e’en the holy is dirtied,
Blooded in battle, will-outlawed,
In the name of our swords and of the last jihad.

We are the soldiers, now battle wearied,
Who shall, beneath the times, again be buried.
We love the steel and the grounds we trod,
We are the starshine at the twilight of the gods.

IV: King of the Empty Lands
“One may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night.”
  –Khalil Gibran

I was born son to glaciers of ice,
brother to the west wind,
singing a song of memory and change.
And as I walk the halls of snow, the rooms of steel,
I hold fast to the shadows that cloak the ruin,
never chasing the silence from the daylight,
I shake the floor of the world
in my lonely tantrums.
I am made the merchant of emptiness,
my currency the dew at night’s edge.
They gave me dominion over the empty spaces                          
and taught me that to rule is always sweet,
no matter the kingdom.
I haunt the concrete canyons,                                                                
in dreams where I chase the inviting glow,
the glittering crowds and shimmering clouds
that bring the promise of redemption,
the pain of waking a dreamer with empty hands.
I am the wanderer of frigid spaces,
drawn to seek dawn in distant skies, worn robes hanging,
never ever standing before Heaven,
singing  of flowers and thorns even through my tears,
king of the outer wilds,
east of the sun where the dreams fall dark.

Wisdom never learned silence,
Never became more or less than the prattling of fools,
Neither in these last days, nor those that came before.
Prayers and ashes on incense-winds
Rise to never be caught
And crash broken-wave
On the deaf ears of stone gods;
All the cemetery evenings
All the sighs of the empty lands.
We are the leaves that blow in the wind,
That erase the silent songs, tossed along
The snow and ash strewn valleys.
We knew what was proper for men,
Knew what was proper for beasts,
Even when the tears of poets had gone up,
Melted in the haunted times.                                          

We were to have been the angels,
That rose through the scattered clouds
Being the taste of stars,
Bringing the laughter of prayer
To all of Prometheus’s brood,
But were instead reflections of the world,
Rodents scampering and making music
In broken glass.
We are the torn liver in the eagle’s mouth,
The poison not caught in the bowl,
God’s punishment on god
Yet still undaunted.

These are the wordless promises,
Empty phrases that fall upon each other,
Kindling nothing,
But setting the world ablaze
In these days of the holy fools.
All the schools silent, the poets mute,
Under these skies that swallow the thunder and spit
Out fire, bleaching the hollow bones.
All the digested minutes in us burn
away the prophet’s words,
And we find no dreams in the
Echoing halls of night.
All the brass tarnished
And all the gold gone,
But the tears of steel linger still in the hearts
And minds of the last seed,
The thieves that robbed us of peace and
Now lay waiting to be the blood of the earth.

“I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
--J. Robert Oppenheimer, upon witnessing the explosion of the first atomic bomb

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