You remember the stooped man from Brooklyn,
Elena – limping (wounded) through cedars.
The man with elephantine features,
a crown of white hair, scarred... a nobleman,
the only knight we knew. Out of the black-ink
melting pot of Septimania (marches of Spain
tattooed with strange lettering – a written,
walking tome or tomb). We drink
the black milk of these scored hoofprints,
a bread of pain – we scourge the scriptures'
breathless Word – of heaving sighs
only (and faded into sand long since).
The icon floats through a crane bone
flute, and is only image or memento,
crumb of madeleine... a slow tempo
memorized long before music began –
in the foam of stars, seeded through night
like Abraham's offspring, or light manna
slipped from pigeons' wings – lemony
taste and flower-scent – white
snow in the depths of blue taiga.
Was with us for a while, a recapitulation
of a capitan, a Makhir from Narbonne,
or Barcelona – Kyot or Flegetanis – troubadour,
star-gazer, man of letters. Was profiled
in the ink-black night, still shining bright
beneath a long-gone W – his delicate
Sabean bride... (Cassiopeia – distant, mild).
This is from Blackstone's Day-Book, the last book of Forth of July (published in The Rose, and also in Island Road). It's about what I've been talking about today; it's also about the poet Edwin Honig (Honig, Tom Epstein & I had dinner one night with Elena Shvarts in Providence. I think it was around my birthday. I'll post a section of the poem I read for them, which I had written for ES the night before).