Dark backward & abysm of time


Like a Prince Hal of the Iron Age,
surrounded by a full staff
of devices (every gaffe
in the book) Henry took a page

from Stealing Drums in Trinidad
as they slubbered through the murk
of a flood plain, like turkeys
in a hurricane.  It was that bad.

Had to go, blind fool, from Addis Ababa
to Babylon – from Lake Tana
to Concrete Cavern (ah,
Bull-Dance of Hummy Blah-Blah!)

& recapitulate his fancy
infancy – in a shed
built of old dry blood
& scarecrow straw, with Nancy

the Cow & Her Yodeling Shepherds
making rustic hay.
He lived a year & a day
on all fours – eating grass, curds

& whey, locusts, honey, in a swamp
by the Jordan, in Judea...
It’s all there, Maria –
in Miriam’s mandorla (under the lamp).

Henry wandered thus through drowsy realm
plucking mandolin...
one silver star over dark green pine,
one cirque of gold at the Argo helm.


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