Enough, perhaps, that Pop should have a King, without the other perks that from it flow-- but what if one should claim perpetual spring, and fondle boys, and all the parents know?
Justice, a gaud that we no longer cling when there's so many other wads to blow, (and foreigners to torture)-- level field for millionaires--your peasant folk fall prey to all the bleak idolatries they wield: I do believe we're in this slough to stay.
But lo, before the final verdict's sealed on what was once a refuge, the gift repealed and the hope dashed, what of this relict day?"
Mother of mouthings, the grey doves in your many branches code and decode what warnings we call recall of love’s watery tones?
hurrrrrr harrrrrr hurrr .
She raises the bedroom window to let in the air and pearl-grey light of morning where the first world stript of its names extends, where initial things go, beckoning dove-sounds recur taking what we know of them
from the soul leaps to the tongue’s tip as if to tell what secret in the word for it.
The bird claws scraping the ledges. I hear the rustling of wings. Is it evening? The woodwinds chortling or piping, sounds settling down in the dark pit where the orchestra lights glow as the curtain rises, and in the living room, as another stage, lamps are lit.
The lady in the shade of the boughs held a dove in her two hands, let it fly up from the bowl she made as if a word had left her lips.
Now that the song has flown the tree shakes, rustling in the wind, with no stars of its own, for all the nets of words are gone.
The lady holds nothing in her two hands cupt. The catches of the years are torn. And the wood-light floods and overflows the bowl she holds like a question.
Voices of children from playgrounds come sounding on the wind without names. We cannot tell who they are there we once were too under what star?
Before words, after words . hands lifted as a bowl for water, alms or prayer. For what we heard was no more than a dove’s
hurrrrrr harrrrrr hurrr
where the Day slept after noon, in the light’s blur and shade the Queen of the Tree’s Talking hears only the leaf sound, whirrr of wings in the boughs,
the voices in the wind verging into leaf sound.
I wanted to say something, that my heart had such a burden, or needed a burden in order to say something.
Take what mask to find words and as an old man come forward into a speech he had long waited for,
had on the tip of his tongue, from which now . O fateful thread! Sentence that thru my song most moved!
Now from your courses the flame has fled making but words of what I loved.”
There was the method of kneeling, a fine method, if you lived in a country where stones were smooth. The women dreamed wistfully of bleached courtyards, hidden corners where knee fit rock. Their prayers were weathered rib bones, small calcium words uttered in sequence, as if this shedding of syllables could somehow fuse them to the sky.
There were the men who had been shepherds so long they walked like sheep. Under the olive trees, they raised their arms— Hear us! We have pain on earth! We have so much pain there is no place to store it! But the olives bobbed peacefully in fragrant buckets of vinegar and thyme. At night the men ate heartily, flat bread and white cheese, and were happy in spite of the pain, because there was also happiness.
Some prized the pilgrimage, wrapping themselves in new white linen to ride buses across miles of vacant sand. When they arrived at Mecca they would circle the holy places, on foot, many times, they would bend to kiss the earth and return, their lean faces housing mystery.
While for certain cousins and grandmothers the pilgrimage occurred daily, lugging water from the spring or balancing the baskets of grapes.
These were the ones present at births, humming quietly to perspiring mothers. The ones stitching intricate needlework into children’s dresses, forgetting how easily children soil clothes.
There were those who didn’t care about praying. The young ones. The ones who had been to America. They told the old ones, you are wasting your time. Time?—The old ones prayed for the young ones. They prayed for Allah to mend their brains, for the twig, the round moon, to speak suddenly in a commanding tone.
And occasionally there would be one who did none of this, the old man Fowzi, for example, Fowzi the fool, who beat everyone at dominoes, insisted he spoke with God as he spoke with goats, and was famous for his laugh."