Saturday, June 15, 2024

Two Poem Drafts

In the second poem, Zaum (literally, 'beyond-mind') is the name for a style of Russian nonsense-poetry, and bezumiye is Russian for 'insanity, madness'. The poem is not a Zaum poem; there is only one line that might plausibly ever be found in Zaum; rather, Zaum's taken as a symbol for the inarticulate moment of poetic creation that is like, but directly opposed to, madness; between zaum and bezumiye, poems are born.

In Shadows Walk the Gentle Dead

 In shadows walk the gentle dead
along the paths of stone and star
and whisper words inside my head
of realms of dimlit forest far.
The ships may sail on moon-bright seas
where phantoms walk in waving foam;
in dreams I sail, and walk on leas
where quiet wraiths in sorrow roam.
An ache of temple, weary brow,
and mists that curl in haunted brain,
and heavy head may nod and bow
to walk on strange, enchanted plain.

Between Zaum and Bezumiye

Somewhere between zaum and bezumiye,
where some dark Enochian stream
is mashed into clay and Anglicized form,
the Spirit broods on dark waters,
preparing the poetic word
in a breath not yet informed.
Whooshing is the condition for meaning,
wind for high sails.
Here in dark silence anticipating,
word unknown,
way unseen,
the agent intellect contemplates,
then speaks and shines.
Runs forth the red;
evening and morning
are born only in word,
a flutterby from a feline pillar
that stands at the gates of the dead
where the pyramids rise by river's flood
as new lands bloom with gold grain.
The angels perhaps are singing:
azel, azel, azel, menar abazim;
the morning stars proclaim in joy
the proto-words descending
from seraph to throne.
And round goes the cycle,
sealed with a selah,
returned to the quest
of the formless unformed,
the leviathan of madness
by divine spear slain
in a cyanocholic sea.
Swishing with wishes,
the waves of that sea shy from all shores;
yet by division lands will soon show
when word is born again.