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IV.  The Forest

 

And some have searched in forests:

gone in under scanning upward stretch,

under the concealing spread that breathes

life out of blemished darkness.  We enter in.

And beasts once sealed within bound

out to be named, and never forgotten.

And the trees gathered and are leaning

their heads in whispers, spindle-spiked,

against the wind, covering the paths

to the unplaceable pith-point there.

And the shadows crack off branches

to shatter on the needled floor

of the corridor’s poppy-red glow,

the complement cut from green leaf.   Now

look the edge of the forest and its shade.

See!  The blade is blunter than we thought.

 

They came with axe to slash and plant

another forest within the grove, and later

learn to build of lucent marbles.

And this our grain of deep-shot

wood and stone:  the maze remembers

the forest, and in it moving hub

the slaying of the bull and written near:

All for love. This itself is thinking

of Mithras beneath the Persian cave

astride the bull whose flanks spurt life

in corn.  It is the image found at the bounds

of the North and brought in our sacks

of unexchangeable merchandise.  The stones

echo and our feet are upon them;

in this way our soles make exchange

as body to body exchange is made in flow

within the circuit, the labyrinth of

the journey to the centre where the bull

gives out his life.

                      And thus continued,

as with you who sit so near, a blend is made.

This the way the track leads while stones

and leaves penetrate our passing.  There is no

halt, and as we move there is a breathing

at our ankles.  Hoof-fall to keel-shift,

the syncopated pulse passes from vein to vein

to where we began not as strangers

in the latticed link of ebb and flood:

for flying particles come together, then

under heat and weight are marbled,

all striation , whole and inseparable.

Beneath moves the leaves and a woman’s

voice is heard woven through with wind

keening for her lover.  The over all his name

is lost in tangle of forking branches where

birds cry in chords against the beat

of brook on rocks in fibrous rush

unbroken down to the waiting sea.