THE WATCHMAN’S GATE
Here at the gate reside all the novelties of the dark, and a poet’s dated ego
Which isolate one like stone.
Nothing happens here as me; I am constantly happening in my insides
And so I find myself now and then taking long reflective strolls
Round the place, and sometimes straying into continents of anthills
Or watching certain horizons rise and flicker above a cityful of fools
There is always some new thought gained here that lingers ringing in the skull
There’s always some bright apparition that flares into the dull null
Of long relentless afternoons.
Omens proliferate, and whirlwinds weave their shadows round the hills
One should not grow affectionate with punishing storms
Neither should one make a sigh of a true whirlwind
At any rate nothing endures any more, save your logical indifference
And the cadences of rainfall that bear no oral shapes.
NO LONGER AT EASE
Sitting in the cooling shadows of a tree this afternoon
And staring in front of me
At the giant almost human –like anthill
With its thousand burning arms raised in the sun
I realize quite suddenly
I have not come here to learn the ant’s wisdom
Nor to seek out of my mind’s peace nor peter out of the storms in my blood.
Of late certain floods have been rising inside me, mounting
Behind my mute, sun-arrayed exterior.
Something indeed has burst open within me but I’m not released
Has not my name been written in waters?
And so caught as it were between a sea-land row.
And not washed, not drowning, not baptized,
I flood my lines with riotous nightmares.
One should know at least a little of what one’s shadows know
Or else one may continue to chastise oneself with needless philosophy
The time seems come, and of omens too miraculous to rue.
I know such miraculous riddles are never for a vagabond like me
And so someone will have to dig deeper into his love – worn scars
And narrow to a nice by the riotous omens in his stars
My lover a while ago turned into a fox and bolted with the winds –
Disappeared into the shielding tangles of scriptural woods
What on earth now can a young man ever hope for?
I turn away from the narrow, inevitable path where
My musings must lead me, afraid for myself and of The One Above
And begin to comb the forest for my missing love.
At the foot of a crumbling hill, I find at last my Beatrice
Already swollen and putrescent – torn by a beast.
If my memories do not detonate in bars
And my wise cracks do not tingle around high tables,
Then nothing shall rid me of my mystical alones on the street
Always I linger alone on the street where lovers and travelers prowl,
Awaiting a lover I know shall come.
Oh yes I’m awaiting a lover I know shall come.
And vaguely wondering what in God’s name shall appease
The humanity that crows my nightmares
There seems a rage in my stars but I can’t be the odd one out.
What led me three days ago, as I strayed from that exacting gate
Into that ants’ universe wasn’t precisely a love –won drifting,
It was in fact a sudden change at me by some winged sight.
That sent me fleeing into the bowels of the forest where I discovered
A community of anthills over which a shrieking bird hovered.
Poems © Obakanse Lakanse