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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another interlude: "Lazarus in Phoenicia"

Lazarus in Phoenicia by Rory Cooney


Floating days and nights, then
a dream of triremes sailing away
for days there is nothing but wind and sun,
the sea lifting us,
swells soft as a woman’s belly.
I am astern and ashore, I watch me
standing, leaving.
(I say to me, You have everything, I nothing.
But there is an abyss in my everything, I say,
an oasis of me in your nothing)

Those were fevered times You ask me,
Where did you go? What did you see?

Light and darkness I remember, but
no hot nor cold persists there.
Only that each moment stretches
between the hands of consciousness
like the purple yarn of Tyre’s looms.
Only the voice, full of tears and music,
that called for a miracle from me,
as though i were the last Jew,
as though suns would blink out
did i not return.

Now I dream of warm seas,
I watch me leaving, staying.
I know that i was dead,
That I lay with crawling things,
stink and darkness lay their eggs
upon my vanished breath,
went in and out of me.
Dead and alive, i am one:
in this wind, these waves, I listen
for the song that called me out,
the voice that bade me live,
then went off to die.

I am born a second time.
These tiny men are no world to me.
I have caught a dream,
and their threats have no sting.
(© 1993)