For the Scribe Gar.Una of Uruk, 3,000 B. C.
—author of the earliest known signature
That arrow & life were homonyms. That his name
Predates all others, incised sunbaked on a slab
Of Eupratian clay. Stylus a broken reed, though it
Carries somehow the bedazzled opalescent mojo
Of transfiguration. The hand which holds it edges right
& reaching the margin circles back, right to left
& east to west, boustrophedon, so that inscription
Is a form of weaving. What matters that the context
Is grain, is cattle & goat, chamber pot & sandal,
Three & twenty spear-shafts hewn of cedar,
Flagons of unguents for the Temple Stores.
Enumerate, enumerate. Life & arrow,
Our endless numbered days enfeathered
So to fly relentless in unpitying sun.
The one whom I loved is dead. The one
Whom I loved is clay. Enumerate, enumerate,
Life & arrow. They are all gone now, the days
We shared. Gone eighteen years, six months,
Seven days, eleven hours. & thus I open
The Major English Romantic Poets & keep vigil,
For her hand her hand lives on in concord
Peerless with William Blake, The Proverbs of Hell
Decoded. So he took me thro’ a stable
(vision of materialism) and thro’ a church and down
Into a church vault, at the end of which (Mill of Abstraction)
we did come to a cave; down the winding cavern
we groped our tedious way (Materialism = Locke
+ Newton)…. I have also the Bible of Hell, which
the world shall have, whether they will or no. (Creation +
Fall—the Angel embraces the Fire).
Blue ink, green ink, pencil. Kentish Town, the ‘80s,
Window open & the pewter light ensilvering
The Heath. I watch the book upon her desk, pages
A-tremble in the evening wind. She is out somewhere
In the leather jacket; she is out somewhere
To score. Blue ink, green ink, the Angel
Embraces fire. Guide my hand now, o scribe,
Let me speak of her as though she might stand
Before me still. Enumerate, enumerate—
The fog transfiguring, the chastening light. Guide my hand,
O scribe, so that I might see her from this window
We have hewn of stylus, of keyboard & character.
Guide my hand so that she may walk below, emerging
Corporeal, parting the Tube Station crowd,
Jacket, worn boots, her scarf that is forged
Of electrum, her scarf that is molten, her scarf
That is flame. Below me she stands. Arrow
& life. Guide my hand, o scribe.
Instruct me to affix her here, that she may,
for a moment, raise her head toward me,
So that in this bless`ed gesture I may linger.
Copyright @ 2014 byDavid Wojahn. Used with permission of the author.