I saw them take a man from the cross.
Very sturdy, with even the rot solid
they had to wrench, torture, and ply
a thorn-torn flesh from the sky’s board.
Some workers below, shouldering blindly,
were shouting to take it the hell easy
with such a dead weight. The careful shroud
Inserted between back and bloody beam
clutched the descendings of a body
that angled about neck, waist, and knees
macabrely, yet masked the thighs.
No one complained, murmured, or wept:
those dismantling the gibbet, younger men,
were business-like, or strangely hurried;
Other faces, in ambush, could not make room,
already etched by grief and elder gloom;
and of two women, standing well back,
only their eyes glowering in the dusk
spoke, like waters, as they followed him
into the sun’s terse halo, to
a pit of light deeper than understanding.
Closer than all who watched, a citizen
stood alert, fatly blinking, legs apart,
steadier than a soldier’s challenge or
the cross: he also saw without seeing,
his glance reflected neither shame nor haste,
disinterested as a camel in a death
that would open any imagination.
I was curious to know what crime the corpse
had committed, but no one seemed to care
about the bearded, not unbeautiful face,
only to dispatch the dead in good order,
to lay the body carefully from sight
with lavings, myrrh, and linen grave-clothes:
so I too committed his face to the earth.
Break bow and string
they must not express the beat,
not this time.
For I have taught my soul to stand alone
what then shall I do,
what, tell me, with myself?
It is a rock, and all increase
I have not shut these ears in vain,
not this time.
Can a human tune speak true
give eyes, ears, and a wind-sown field,
make the barren bear
dedicated to an unhorned God?
If still the rock bears
who has anointed its head?
I have taught myself to stand alone
neither to feed nor excrete.
The earth is full
it roars to my ears
it whips oceans of sight
even silence breeds.
have eaten the proud day.
I say to myself, “We are Awake,”
the belly laughs
teeth grind as in a sleep.
Hush, the stars are unhusked:
she lies unveiled
toward desire’s edge
her lashes dark spears
dawn at the hem of her skirt.
I say to desire, “Full Tide,”
the quivering blades
have reached the blood of the air
drained like a cup.
My soul, who has anointed you,
are you still thirsty like the east winds,
or sated, ready to be poured out?
Whose dark dew floods you and I do not know it?
I dream: a golden sheaf
a beanstalk shoots to pierce heaven,
a mantle of praise
suits the swollen navel.
Is it visible at last
the inwrought face
formed once for all
out of a unique ore
and icy love?
Green is our sacred mountain
there is a voice on the Green
a pueblo people dances there
like cars once around it.
The skyline becomes sky again
awnings flutter in the wind
walks plant the liberated streets
with randomness. Shops open
as coffeehouses and markets of life.
All people are street people
and hymn highways that were.
The tax base withers away
loafs are baked in the sun.