The Razor's Edge
I wandered, thinking well
through the sordid gates of hell
with subtle traipsing, made
to walk unknowing on a blade,
a razor's edge over chasm laid,
into which my glories fell,
as He bade.
Darkness all around me winging
was but the grace of heaven singing,
but the wedding party flinging
wine in dance, and like the sea,
wine-dark was the light in me.
And I with all my glories bringing
across a razor's edge did flee
above a dark and broiling sea
of fire; and it was me.
Meanders great and small in grace
brought me to the sacred place,
a grove of light, and there I burned
with flame inside and gravely yearned
to catch the fox that fled the chase,
which fox was me; and in that race,
I found a stream and turned
to see in the waters my own face.
What I learned
was a lesson hard and bitter-laced.
Across the razor's edge I fled,
across the shadows of the dead;
my success wandered among the shades,
a ghostly death of life that fades.
Each triumph bled
with flooding blood, flamed-iron red,
each glory a cut upon the blade,
each victory a fiction in my head.
I thought that I on lilies fed,
but I was to the darkness wed,
as He bade.
A moment before the dawn's bright flame
I caught an inkling of a name,
a hint of breath.
Each choice was made upon a wire
pending above the seething fire
that bore my face and death.
I played some old, forgotten game
with darkness and in desire
I saw my death; it was the same
in visage as my unwatched shame.
In the darkness softly stirred
a rustling like some morning bird
in leaves, a single word
like a lyre
that makes the air to sing;
exhausted, I beneath the wing
fell, protected by the Thing
that stirred but held me fast.
And in the darkness, still and fleeting,
no sound but grace and my heart beating,
light came at last.