Long ago some one carved me in the semblance of a god.
I have forgot now what god I was meant to represent.
I have no consciousness now but of stone, sunlight, and rain;
The sun baking my skin of stone, the wind lifting my hair;
The sun’s light is hot upon me,
The moon’s light is cool,
Casting a silver-laced pattern of light and dark
Over the planes of my body:
My thoughts now are the thoughts of a stone,
My substance now is the substance of life itself;
I have sunk deep into life as one sinks into sleep;
Life is above me, below me, around me,
Moving through my pores of stone—
It does not matter how small the space you pack life in,
That space is as big as the universe—
Space, volume, and the overtone of volume
Move through me like chords of music,
Like the taste of happiness in the throat,
Which you fear to lose, though it may choke you—
(In the cities this is not known,
For space there is emptiness,
And time is torment) . . . . .
Since I became a stone
I have no need to remember anything—
Everything is remembered for me;
I live and I think and I dream as a stone,
In the warm sunlight, in the grey rain;
All my surfaces are touched to softness
By the light fingers of the wind,
The slow dripping of rain:
My body retains only faintly the image
It was meant to represent,
I am more beautiful and less rigid,
I am a part of space,
Time has entered into me,
Life has passed through me—
What matter the name of the god I was meant to represent?
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 28, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.
Your eyes were gem-like in that dim deep chamber
Hushed and sombre with imprisoned fire,
With yellow ghostly globes of intense aether
Potent as the rays of pure desire.
Your voice was startled into vivid wonder,
When the winged wild whining mystic wheel
Took flight and shot the dark with frosty crashings
Like an ice-berg splitting to the keel.
Your flesh was never warmer to my passion
Than when, moving in that lumor green,
We saw with eyes our fragile bones enamoured
Clasping sadly on the pallid screen.
You seemed so virginal and so undreaming
Of the burning hunger in my eyes,
To peer more fever-deeply in your being
Than the very death of passion lies.
The subtle-tuned shy motions of your spirit,
Fashioned through the ages for the sun,
Were dumb in that green lustre-haunted cavern
Where you walked a naked skeleton;
Slim-hipped and fluent and of lovely motion,
Living to the tip of every bone,
And ah, too exquisitely vivid-moving
Ever to lie wanly down alone—
To lie forever down so still and slender,
Tracing on the ancient screen of night
That naked and pale writing of the wonder
Of your beauty breathing in the light.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on January 29, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.