II.† The Cargo
And there the horizon,
and now the waiting.
Gathered on the shore, the night
about our shoulders, watching the nets fall
upon the thalassa-whispering sea.
It is up! Caught in maze of twine,
below the quivering water, she scanned
our faces and set forth.
It is not forgotten.† My eyes are lifted
up unto the hills and never set.
The light, changer of our coinage,
drawn to a needle point pierces
the gate and we remember (clear on mindís
screen, a vellum stretch, a hemp sway
across canvas furl).† Breathless
the fishermen scar in many casts
the face lost in her self-inturning,
too well understood to be worshipped
yet in the fine-mortised whole, complete
though stamped and over-stamped is
still the change, undebased and unassayable.
Many the bulls encompass the night,
their arcs, their heat melt as wax belief
and we, guttered, are poured out like water:
in dust a delta of interwoven fibres
strained in not forgetting.†
This the way:
In nets flung out to make the water tremble
with the draught of the holy catch:
heiratic ichtus, fish, cold sacrifice
out of and of all elements, opened
on hill and shore for the woman riding
on the crescent moon, hair coiled about
her face.† Yet how well we know her.
The blue of peplos-fluted sky
conceals her passage arching over all.
We have one body and one blood, and
a thousand songs are on in the echo
of the hills, the rest is ply of light.
Love!† You could not call it that.† Not love!
It is for you we dance in a beat pulsed by
the real of night with light as mandrels
birl out,† we are slender shafts and our glance
††††††††††† And this too the way:
There stands memory warmed in the dark
by your breath and led by fine-boned,
shell-tipped fingers.† Not alone in night.
Colours cling one to the other, yet line
divides plane from plane and it is easier
to think essences are cleaved by axe-fall,
splintering all into lustre slivers.
††††††††††† Not this way:
not with too much light!
Gift of the sun cuts her path with seven
swords and we are blooded in the hunt
of night. Scimitar moon, now nets are slit,
skims above blackened by night-light hills.
Yet we gaze while scaled fish pour
out to streak the stone-grey sea red.
††††††††††† This the way:
††††††††††† in ritual on the shore:
Foetal gills quivering in the shock
of remembering.† For there with horn
of† dune and thew shift it is ever the same.
Come take a cord!† The net must sing
through air to water. Quick cast
on one, only one flick from arms untiring
in sinew-slip, in the dramaís sacred act
repeated on periphery points around
orchestra in cymballing circle clash,
wave crash on records written within anemone
whorl, wind-rose; and this too born
of surge of sea in blood. Here the hiss
of sea by night and we remember.† There
the horizon and the waiting.
Tongues cleave to salt, earth taste,
in song we turn from the beach, step
on shingle though the obscuring mist of dawn.