Fortune, sanity, honour and belief
On either side of the blade a shaft.
I balance on the edge with life in my hands, and the words swimming
in my mouth, like spawn. Just a small prefix can change fortune, sanity,
honour and belief into misfortune, insanity, dishonour and unbelief.
Over me the entire order of birds reigns, with tail, wings
and endless wing-spans, and I hear:
Be prepared, know that the birds must stick to the birds, and that you, a
wretched primate, must walk along the edge of the mountain among
the dark earthen houses, but you shall prize apertures open.
The hopeful but also demanding task makes me over-eager,
I lose my footing and plunge headlong into the gorge of misfortune.
After having survived, I stumble once again, roll downwards, alternating
between insanity, dishonour and unbelief, but scramble back up again,
more or less battered.
Over me the entire order of birds reigns,
in exemplary fashion, with tail, wings and endless reach,
so I continue to balance on the edge, prepared.
Raw operation ignites a pale morning star
works up opportunities, strange or ordinary, but on-going:
What about an introduction to shifting cultivation, quantum physics, small-craft navigation
or first aid.
I make a few advances, take notes, but as usual time flows
endlessly on, quickly erases them. The only thing left after
the days have rampaged is the motto ‘cheerful and courageous’.
‘Cheerful’ causes me to pull myself up by the neck like a
trapeze artist. ‘Courageous’ causes my skull to open and directly
link the hippocampus to the northern lights.
Although the word-particles circulate electrically round me, in equally beautiful orbits
as shown in the illustrations of ions in a textbook on magnetism,
I let nature take its course. Do not do too much to force the particles
out of course, except to let them end up in some show or other.
Lost umbilical cord
After childbirth the umbilical cord is cut, but regrettably not kept.
The half-metre-long life-line between Ma and me, consisting of the
nutritious Wharton’s jelly, arteries and veins, could have been dried,
divided into suitable doses and preserved for later use.
It could now have lain ready to be crushed in a mortar, and then
stirred into a little almond milk, ingested to regenerate the stem cells and
to strengthen the mind.
For example when a portico in the South German town entices me into a
Carmelite nunnery, and there a nun mildly enjoins:
Ihr sollt sein wie ein Fenster, durch das Gottes Güte in die Welt
You should all be like a window through which God’s goodness
can shine into the world.
And I would very much like to be such a window. But even if I keep myself
as translucent as I can, the vows of the order are difficult to observe.
Furthermore, it’s calling me once more – the wild life in the scattered remaining
forests down south on the continent: bow and arrow, clothes of hide, skin like
leather, venison, herbal drinks, keen falcon eye, and a troop of sister seers
They want to initiate me as a seeress, give me stamina of iron and show me
how they plait their own chasubles of ivy, and boldly walk around in
chain-mail of pure light.
The Caravaggio light
The winter sun kindles a little Caravaggio light under the wild hazel.
There in the half-darkness makes it glow in a cinnamon-brown bark, an emerald-coloured moss.
Perhaps this is the only sign we get, for no one knows anything.
No one answers when we call there, but the forest lets our calls swing
in the trapezes between stray Serbian spruce, and a formidable
insect circus is reported under the pine needles.
The warning from the hedge sparrow has an Arabic ring.
A rust-coloured feather from the Bohemian waxwing descends, and the intrepid
coal tit suddenly shows itself close to this cellar light,
which seems to have gone astray from the Italian Baroque.
We call once more, and the forest stands silent around us.
Beneath us the remains of Carboniferous, Triassic and Cretaceous crunch.
Above us the memory system of the universe spreads out, infallible.