I woke from sleep again, to find myself
nestled in oak leaves on the Terrace, high
among tree limbs, with Natasha. She grew shy
now. The monastery of my lips is sealed, my
elf, she said – but tell me what you see. Once
more I looked out through the greenery – &
seemed to see a huge assembly, ambling round
a circle... some sweet-solemn wedding-dance
promenade (far off, among the western clouds).
& at the center of the wheel, a blonde woman
I’d seen somewhere before... maybe Italian... ?
My lips remember now – small icon (housed
in RISD Muse.) by Lippo Memmi – Magdalen,
with small stone casket in her hands (delicate
myrrh-box, ornate, with tiny mirrors). What
lay on its lid? She was far off there... then
Natasha lent me her gemlens. It worked
like a microscope : I saw the slim casket
was lidded with simple emerald slab, set
in magenta border, & graved with gilded
tracery of river-scenes : 4 rivers, poured
from jars by angels at each corner. & there
were palm trees, willows, cedars by the water...
& Abraham, & Isaac, with a ram... a wingèd
angel in between, to save the boy... It is
a miniature Paradise I see, I said to her –
but what’s inside? Is M’s jewelbox for myrrh
alone? Natasha only smiled at me. Gee whiz,
I thought – this is a mystery. I turned back
to the vision in the clouds... gazed deeply now
into her azure eyes, beneath twin-arching brow.
& suddenly a white-gold star-arrow turned black
my sight. This is Sirius, a serious star, a whisper
spoke. Nearest to Venus, & the sun. Keep
your eyes closed, for now – for from deep sleep
of Man, must rise the Sun of Man. Rondure
of molten, labyrinthine, fibrillated gold slowly swelled
there, behind my lids... & without opening my eyes
I seemed to see that circling cloud-crowd cease
moving, turn to center of that wheel : dead
center. Now the mirror-casket silently opened...
a shrouded figure (like a cloud) rose from inside.
The shroud was dusty, the figure dark. Wide
shoulders slowly unstooped... bent brow lifted.
The figure spoke. A quiet flute, melodious.
I am the melek of the milky covenant. From dawn
of time, I have prepared your heart – soft stone,
harder than diamond... perfect, as Elkstone is.
Each man, each woman, every soul shall wear
my ruby diadem – to find their lives, & dwell
in peace within their earth. All shall be well,
all manner of thing – now Earth begins to bear
its flowering. I suddenly found myself racing
toward him, toward some Finnish finish line –
for Melek-MLK stood now beneath twin tines
of that bright tuning fork, centering everything...
I saw a rose wheel over St. Louis, the riverbanks;
I saw a triple rainbow underneath, over the Arch;
I saw the crowd around Mary M. begin to march
again – gaily, skipping & dancing, giving thanks.
Then I opened my eyes at last – saw the old church
across the street. Redeemer Church (Episcopalian).
An old rose window beamed in early light – serene
beneath wingèd gray granite brows... (sigh). Watch.