We sped along still, ensconced there in Natasha’s
cumuloship – eastward again, just where Siberia
shakes hands with Alaska. Circuiting our gala
rondure – RUS back to US. Her eyelashes
curved upward as she said, All this loveliness
is but a bauble in the hand of heavenly Majesty.
See the high firmament – behold aurora borealis
rustle her garments of sevenfold light. & yes,
yes – so it was. But I glanced below again,
glimpsed Vladivostok glimmer under clouds.
Called up my almond-eyed song-guide... his
mournful end. Dark is the grave wherein
my friend is laid, I murmured to her (sweet
baobabushka). Grieve not for Mandelstam,
she said. The slave is free who’s overcome
fear, he crowed. Recall that epigram : feat
so light, so resolute. The soil beneath his lines’
diamond is steep – a cedar mount. Sheepfold,
greenship... harboring seedlings of deep, full
faith. I looked again... & saw Vancouver shine
below. Sad memories of Malcolm Lowry rose.
A shattered river-shack... rock-candy almost-
paradise. Torment. O troubled, tortured host...
Her soft eye rested on me. Remember Maximus,
his message, friend. The edge of truth cuts
sharp & clean, even to distinguish between bone
& marrow. Intellect, sense; body & soul... one
Love binds two. Reunion, prodigal. Victory at last.