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VI.  The Storm

 

And after massing silence:

sea-calm, the men idle by the quays,

chapped fingers grope for fissures

in rotting nets.  Too still to sail:

fish swim deep in heat.  Too still.

They wait the storm, nigredo in

bell-jar gape of ocean’s mouth, waiting

changes, and from water-black moment

is movement.  The birds have turned

to the branches and do not sing.

He is black and disremembered,

thinking of unforgetting.  She is black,

tearing ceaselessly at our indolence,

hard as ebony.  Swart our tongues in dryness.

The silence and the slaughter is,

and its falling quieter than snow

in eyeless forest.  When the gust begins

out there from beneath the waves

and yonder shore beyond the buckling

curve is break.  Horses caparisoned

in jet paw the face of separation

fierce hoofs pierce the crust of sand.

The eyes of men lift, garner the gale

and fear the wind.  The buzzing gadfly

sting our flanks – the cry.  The hawk

shot from crags welcomes the wind

and lifts with drift over air-blown,

from deep-lunged distances.  Blind owl from trunk beats unheard with slicing talon.

All is turning now through streets, forest;

all is changing, falling towards the centre,

the pivot:  boats against shingle, leaves

against bough;  patterns turning towards

towered omphalos of rock, the mandala

centre is empty, black, whole consuming,

holding nothing, hunger of maw, of pyx,

seat and throne of sudden transformations

mixed out of darkness, burning towards

the core of, vacant in, end

wide of the calling O of Omega.